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What do the terms קדוש (Kadosh), קדושים, קדושה, and קדיש really mean?

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@msh210 - why did you remove the parashat-kedoshim tag? Can you re-add it pls? –  Adam Mosheh Mar 1 '12 at 7:16
@AdamMosheh, the question is about a word (or a shoresh, word root) and how to translate it. The word appears in many p'sukim throughout Tanach (and until you just added it, the question didn't mention Vayikra 19:2 at all). The connection of this question to the parashas-kedoshim tag is tenuous at best, and no stronger than its connection to the tag for any other parasha or sefer in which the term appears. –  msh210 Mar 1 '12 at 7:55
@AdamMosheh If you want to ask the question about the Parsha Kedoshim, and the verse in vaykra ask a new question, don't try to force it into a different one. –  avi Mar 1 '12 at 11:41
@msh210 do you know how this question got a thousand views? Did someone advertise it? –  Shmuel Brin Mar 1 '12 at 19:34
@ShmuelBrill, I don't. –  msh210 Mar 1 '12 at 19:54

5 Answers 5

up vote 15 down vote accepted

I understood the term to mean designated, differentiated or set aside for a purpose. So Kiddush-קידוש would be the verbal declaration that designates the day of Shabbat and differentiates it from all the days that precede it (see the Rambam on the Mitzva of Kiddush). The קדושת היום would be the legal designation of the day. The בית המקדש is a place designated to recognize ideas about God. An animal can be made הקדש, thus designating it for the purpose of 'לה (recognizing ideas and עבודת ה). A קדשה is a woman set aside for sexuality (As YS quoted Rashi "הקדשה: מקודשת ומזומנת לזנות"). when we say God is קדוש I believe we mean he is differentiated from all his creations.

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The dictionary compiled based on the works of Rav Hirsch gives an extensive list, divided by sense like a modern dictionary. However, the bibliographic element of that entry mirrors closely the listing, divided by binyan, of Ibn Janach's Sefer Hashorashim (Michlol).

קדש - prepare for task, dedicate all resources

1: preparing
2: reserving, prohibiting for use
4: making independent
5: inviting, summoning
6: being extremely moral
7: being immoral
8: sanctuary
9: home of consecration
10: palace

Note that items #6 and #7 are not contradictory. Although the usage of #7 in the Torah is probably euphamistic, this is a Biblical dictionary so it is accurate of it to list that as a separate sense of the root.

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A kadash is a prostitute tamar was called that –  SimchasTorah Jul 23 '10 at 14:11
וַיִּשְׁאַל אֶת אַנְשֵׁי מְקֹמָהּ לֵאמֹר אַיֵּה הַקְּדֵשָׁה הִוא בָעֵינַיִם עַל הַדָּרֶךְ וַיֹּאמְרוּ לֹא הָיְתָה בָזֶה קְדֵשָׁה: –  SimchasTorah Jul 23 '10 at 14:20
Rashi says הקדשה: מקודשת ומזומנת לזנות You realize it really means separation in all cases just contextually separated for either good or bad –  SimchasTorah Jul 23 '10 at 14:21

commenting on the Rashi quoted in this answer (38:21), The Mizrachi says that it is "the concept of ready and prepared" - "הכנה והזמנה"

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The very Basic answer is separated from matters of Sexuality and Sin as the first Rashi in Kedoshim says:

קדשים תהיו: הוו פרושים מן העריות ומן העבירה, שכל מקום שאתה מוצא גדר ערוה אתה מוצא קדושה, אשה זונה וחללה וגו' אני ה' מקדשכם, (ויקרא כא ז - ח) ולא יחלל זרעו אני ה' מקדשו (ויקרא כא טו) קדושים יהיו אשה זונה וחללה וגו' (ויקרא כא ו - ז):

The Ramban who first says he does not completely agree with Rashi and says it is a broader thing. similarly says to be separated in things which are allowed to you like wine and he quotes a gemara how the Rabbi would limit themselves in conjugal relations similar to Rashi:

ציווה בדבר כללי שנהיה פרושים מן המותרות. ימעט במשגל, כעניין שאמרו (ברכות כב א): שלא יהיו תלמידי חכמים מצויין אצל נשותיהן כתרנגולין, ולא ישמש אלא כפי הצריך בקיום המצווה ממנו. ויקדש עצמו מן היין במיעוטו, כמו שקרא הכתוב

The one thing they both seem to agree on is it is separation from what is Muttar to you.

The Rambam (Principle 4 of the Rambam’s introduction to the Sefer haMitzvot) says it is a a general statement that describes the effect of doing a mitzvah.

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"separation from what is Muttar to you" - Based on context, doesn't the word "mutaros" here mean specifically "women who are not arayos"? It seems like a stretch to say that mere separation from permissible things is the general definition of k'dusha. –  WAF Jul 23 '10 at 12:22
Generally this seems to be an explanation of the /mitzva/ of "k'doshim t'hiyu" more than a definition of the term "kadosh" in the broad decontextual sense. –  WAF Jul 23 '10 at 12:24
YS, שכל מקום שאתה מוצא גדר ערוה אתה מוצא קדושה defines an important aspect of גדר ערוה. Its converse would have defined [an aspect of] קדושה. In other words, even though one tends to find excellent questions and answers on mi.yodeya, that, to my chagrin, does not imply that mi.yodeya is the definition of "excellent questions and answers." –  Isaac Moses Jul 23 '10 at 14:29
@IsaacMoses Did WAF used to be YS? –  Double AA Jun 20 '12 at 7:12
@DoubleAA, no; SimchasTorah did. –  Isaac Moses Jun 20 '12 at 13:56

Kadosh is beyond comparison,beyond our grasp~ Isaiah 40v25. Kadosh is awesome Psalm 99:3; 40v25. Kadosh is righteous~ Isaiah 5v16. Kadosh is G-d's chosen ~Numbers 16:7. Kadosh is fervent~ Isaiah 5v16

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This seems to be more a list of usages than a definition. –  Isaac Moses Mar 19 '14 at 3:45

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