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Haftarah Discussions: Vayeishev: Holiness Demanded By God’s Love



Only Amos, Hoshea, and Isaiah speak of “Kodesh,” holiness in the sense of that which belongs to God alone as God. “My holy Name (Amos 2:7),” and, “has sworn by His Holiness (4:2).”

 

Amos repeatedly insists that God, by His very nature demands moral conduct from His worshipers and will be content with nothing less. For Him, the nature of holiness is exquisite conduct in dealing with other people.

It is Amos who plants the seeds of the ideas of both Chesed and covenant, each representing one strand in the double cord, the one dealing with the requirements of God in the Covenant, and the other more particularly with God’s persistent love towards His people. “You only, have I known of all the families of the earth (3:2).” With this choice there are certain specific ethical demands. It is because of this love that He says, “Therefore, I will visit upon you all your iniquities.”

Amos’ message is essentially that God’s great love for Israel demands that they live as a holy people, meaning acting with incredible care when dealing with other people.

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