Kedoshim: for the individual and the nation

This weeks parsha (outside Israel) begins with the injunction, "Daber el kol adath beney Yisrael veamarta eleyhem, kedoshim tihiyu'ki kadosh Ani Hashem Elokeychem" Hashem commands his people to emulate Him in begin holy. 

My grandfather cites Midrash Rabbah, which is also cited by Rashi, that explains this parsha was the one said at Hakehel because many points of Torah are within it.

Drawing on enumerations of the mitvos and the Rambam My grandfather observes that even if one does not count this commandment as mitzvah unto itself, the goal of many mitzvos is to lead up to this point, arriving at a state of kedusha. 

He also points out that the commandment  to Moshe to speak el kol adath beney Yisrael indicate that this is not something that applies only on the individual level -- for each person to act in a way that brings him/her to kedusha . It also applies to the behavior of the whole nation, that it should be one of kedusha as a whole. 

I noticed today that the penultimate pasuk of the parsha reinforces that reading. It says, 20: 26: 

                                                                                                     ...וִהְיִיתֶם לִי קְדֹשִׁים, כִּי קָדוֹשׁ אֲנִי
וָאַבְדִּל אֶתְכֶם מִן-הָעַמִּים, לִהְיוֹת לִי.
"Veheyimtem li kedoshim ki kadosh ani Hashem, va'avdil ethchem min ha'amim lihiyos li."
And ye shall be holy unto Me; for I holy, and have set you apart from the peoples, that you should be Mine.

This is a clear reference to the status of the nation as a whole, one that is distinct among other nations. 

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I wonder what he meant by that. Individuals can only be told to modify their own behavior, we don't have a hive mind. Unless it's a command to individuals to seek out opportunities to influence the community as a whole- by giving speeches, by being on school boards, by organizing activities that will elevate their community.
Ariella Brown said…
I took it not as much as a directive but an observation on the way it works. The Maharal says that the Torah was given to the entity of klal Yisrael, so there's a quality that has to be maintained by the nation as a whole. How to achieve that is a different matter. Generally I'm rather cynical about speeches and assemblies having any really beneficial effect. That's based on my noticing no real inspirational impact on teens taken to such events by their schools.
I cited and quoted your post at

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