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    I’d like to be a saint – T’rumah

    cherub k'ruv keruvimIn world culture, though not necessarily in Judaism, the cherubim (Ex. 25:20) have become a symbol of little saints.

    In Christianity, saints are venerated for their exceptional faith and deeds, and their relics have special status.

    (Brian Moynahan points out in his book, “The Faith” that there was a time in Christian history when there were so many saints that the critics said that there was no evidence that some names on the list had even existed.)

    But that’s not what the Jewish concept of k’doshim means. It means “holy people”. The Torah says, k’doshim tih’yu, “you shall be holy people” (Lev. 19:2).

    When my cheder teacher trained us to say b’rachot with the words asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav, “You made us holy with Your commandments”, my mind went blank.

    Years passed and I learnt some Torah. I discovered that the best ambition one can have is to lead a decent, honest, upright life, whatever one’s profession – a train driver, a teacher, a butcher, a baker or candlestick maker (even a rabbi!). I even read that Leo Baeck taught that the highest Jewish hero type is to be a reliable ba’al habayit.

    When we are very young we fully expect to grow up normally and live forever. By now of course I know that I won’t live forever, but I can still grow in the categories of day-by-day holiness without being a saint.

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