A fellow once shared with me that although his father did not live a Torah life he was an incredibly moral man.
“Torah would have made no difference to my father’s moral excellence.” He said.
“But do you think your father might have been holier?” I asked.
People often think that because they are good people they don’t need Torah. But the goal of Torah life is not only to enable us to be good but also to be holy.
The meditation recited prior to doing a mitzvah is “Blessed be You, G-d . . . Who has made us holy through the commandments.”
It says “holy,” not “good”, not “moral.” Now, of-course, you can’t be holy if you’re not moral but you could be moral and yet still not holy.
Here’s the difference between holiness and morality.
Sherry and Judy are walking down the street and see a hungry homeless man. They both give him ten dollars.
Sherry gave because she felt guilty about her good fortune and hoped that her giving would earn her protection from poverty and perhaps even get rewarded. Sherry did what’s good. And that’s truly admirable and great but not yet the greatest; not yet holy.
Judy, however, did what’s holy. Judy gave naturally and spontaneously because she understood that at a deep soul level she and this homeless were connected like branches sharing the same root. Judy’s gift to this man was an uncalculated expression of her true self as part of the One Whole Greater Self she shared with this person.
Morality is about beating ego.
Holiness is about being soul; being whole.
Holiness is about being true to being totally you as a part the One Soul you share with all.