I was speaking to one of my rabbeim the other week, when he told me that he heard a story from somebody who was present at the time. It’s known that Rav Chaim Kanievsky, when asked for brachos, usually responds with “Buha”, which is short for “bracha v’hatzlachah”. After all, you need to shorten things when you’re asked for brachos every two minutes. It’s become sort of a joke in the Israeli Ultra-Orthodox community.
It seems there was somebody who was pushing him for a “real bracha” and “demanded” that he gets a longer one. So, Rav Kanievsky responded “Buuuuuuhhhhhhaaaaaaa”.
Who says talmidei chachamim don’t have any sense of humour?
“Speak to the entire assembly of Bnei Yisroel and say to them: ‘You shall be holy’” (Vayikra 19:2)
Rashi explains that this particular section was specifically said in front of the entire nation because most of the other mitzvos are dependent on it. Plus, this commandment is not to be considered for just a select few, but rather each individual.
I was on the bus last week, when in the middle of the ride a nun gets on with another woman… I assume her sister… not in a “nun”-sense, but in a family-sense. The nun was dressed like a nun in her travelling nun-wear, and her sister was wearing jeans and a shirt. I couldn’t help but think that in Christianity, and many other religions, there’s a hierarchy, and where you are on that hierarchy determines which mitzvos you are commanded to keep. That is why you will always see nuns and priests dressed appropriately at all times. Yet, if you go to a church service, you’ll find plenty of people dressed… well… not like nuns and priests. And that’s fine according to their rules, since the nuns and priests have certain commandments which regular folks do not.
The Torah does not take this stance. Each person has the same general commandments, up until and including: be holy. Yes, in some ways we have our own hierarchies (such as Kohanim, which have a few extra mitzvos), but no matter where you are on that hierarchy, you still have the same basic rules you need to keep. Each and every person has an obligation to be holy.
So, let no person think that rules don’t apply to them or that “be holy” only applies to “holy people”. We all have our obligations to do our best. The uneducated layman has the same obligations to be holy as the greatest rabbeim... even the ones that say Buha!
Have a great Shabbos!