The Torah portion of the week literally means Holy Ones. Who are the Holy Ones? You and I? You’re kidding! Me, a Holly Roller? Not a chance!
Yet the Torah calls us Holy in potential. Therefore since you can be Holy, you are obligated to become Holy. So, how does one become Holy?
• By delayed gratification.
• By self-control
• By subscribing to a higher calling
• By dedicating one’s mundane activities in the service of our people and humanity at large
• By making the purpose of all of our activities to increase the Glory of G‑d.
How is this Holiness? Holiness means to stand out, to be above the normal (or below it). When a person does something above the standard behavior of others, the person is in the process of making him/her Holy. We may not get there tomorrow, however as long as each of us tries to do things for a higher reason than just to satisfy one’s appetite or ego – that’s the process of Holiness.
We thus can understand the Holiness associated with the law of prohibition of benefitting from trees for their first three years. A person cultivates his land, tills and fertilizes, plants and waters. He tends the new saplings with love, care and vigilance. He chases away rabbits and squirrels. He smokes away harmful insects. He prunes extra branches to increase the first fruit. He even grafts healthier new branches on older, weaker plants. The results of his work are rewarded with beautiful, tasty fruit.
The impulse is to immediately enjoy the “fruits” of his labor. By controlling his temptations for 3 years of nurture and toil, the orchard grower shows his self-control and devotion to G‑d.
This 3 year wait corrects the sin of Adam with the Tree of Knowledge. Adam had only to wait 3 hours. Then it would have been Shabbos and tree would have been permitted. Somehow he was tempted and sinned within an hour!
By listening to G‑d and waiting 3 years we become Holy – Holier than Adam!