There is a hugely fundamental piece of Ramban at the start of Kedoshim. When the pasuk commands us ‘you shall be holy,’ the Ramban explains that this is referring to an umbrella mitzvah. Let’s explain. One can technically be following every mitzvah in the Torah but can still miss the boat. One can be meticulous in eating strictly kosher food, not speak lashon hara, and learn Torah day and night, but one can still fail to connect to HaShem and be walking on a spiritual path. If one does these mitzvos without following the spirit of the law, then one will hardly be changed by the mitzvos; they will remain acts of religious ritual as opposed to means of becoming close to HaShem and refining one’s character. The example the Ramban gives is someone who over-indulges in the physical world; if one eats to no end and indulges in other physical pleasures (which are all technically permitted) then one has made themselves into a materialistic person and has not lived a spiritually-centred life. Thus, the commandment of ‘you shall be holy’ tells us to take special care to observe the underlying spirit of the law. Indeed, the Rambam (hilchos Shabbos 24:12) writes that one of the reasons for the institution of muktzeh on Shabbos was because without such a prohibition one could spend their entire day moving things round etc. to the extent that they miss the whole spirit of Shabbos - to rest. The theme? To realise, recognise, and respect the spirit and the underlying principles behind the mitzvos are very important!

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