The one term that was repeated tonight a few times is kiddushin. It was announced that the Rabbi will be “mesadeir kiddushin — “officiate the kiddushin.” There was also an announcement identifying the eidei kiddushin — witnesses to the kiddushin. In the Berachah recited we state that Hashem is “mekadeish amo Yisrael — [The One Who] sanctifies His nation, of Israelal yedei Chuppah vekiddushin — through Chuppah and kiddushin.” And finally the highlight of the evening is the Chatan’s placing the ring on the Kallah’s finger and proclaiming the traditional declaration of “Harei at mekudeshet li” — “You are hereby sanctified to me.”

The common denominator between these expressions is that what is taking place tonight is related to holiness and sanctification.

The popular explanation of the connection between hekdesh — holiness — and the act of kiddushin is that with the Chatan’s acquiring his Kallah as a wife the husband makes her forbidden to everyone else, like consecrated property. The implication is that just as consecrated property is set aside from all other property not to be used by any individual, likewise, the wife acquired becomes like something consecrated, forbidden to all men except her husband.

Relative to this subject, in this week’s Torah reading, Parshat Mishpatim, there is also a concept of a person’s being holy. Hashem makes the request that “Ve’anshei kodesh tiheyun li” — “People of holiness shall you be unto Me — and flesh [of an animal] in the field that has been torn you shall not eat” (22:30).

The commandment to be holy is somewhat daunting. “What exactly does Torah expect of me?” an innocent reader may ask. Does it mean that we are supposed to be angels, or that we should live like hermits?

The Chassidic Rebbe of Kotzk calls to our attention that the verse does not say “u’malachei kodesh” — “and holy angels [you shall be unto Me].” Rather it says explicitly “ve’anshei kodesh” — “holy people.” Hence, Torah is not asking from us superhuman or supernatural conduct. Torah demands of us to be human and ordinary people and yet be holy.

If so, what constitutes a holy person and what is considered an unholy person? Possibly, the answer lies in comprehending the juxtaposition of the concept of holiness with the ban of eating non-kosher food in the same pasuk. Once we analyze it, we may also perhaps have a new insight into the Chatan’s declaration of “Harei at mekudeshet li” — “You are hereby sanctified unto me [in accordance with the laws of Moshe and Israel].”

Superficially, the wording in the Torah prohibiting eating non-kosher is enigmatic.

Why does the Torah specify “basadeh” — “in the field”? Should it not say “babayit” — “in the home”?

Many people are meticulous in the laws of kashrut in their homes. They only eat food that has reliable Rabbinic supervision, etc. However, when they go out to the “field” for vacations, picnics or eating out, etc., they are very lax in the laws of kashrut. They may stay in hotels and purchase food in establishments without high kashrut standards.

Therefore, the Torah emphasizes that even when out in the “field,” it is necessary to observe the laws of kashrut strictly.

Thus, it could be said that citing the prohibition of non-kosher food is not the absolute intention of the pasuk, but rather, it explains the concept of “holy people.” It means living a lifestyle which is not a double standard, not practicing a schizophrenic religion in which the individual changes his convictions from situation to situation. A Jew’s practice and observance of Torah must be consistent at all times and under all conditions and settings.

Just as the Gemara (Rosh Hashanah 6a) says of hekdesh — holy property — that “wherever it may be, it is the treasury of the Merciful One,” likewise, a holy Jew is true and authentic in his observance, wherever he may be. This, of course, applies not only to eating kosher but to every facet of our relation to both G‑d and our fellow man.

Hence, perhaps when the Chatan says to the Kallah, “Harei at mekudeshet li” — “You are hereby sanctified to me” — he is referring to our explanation of the Biblical verse “Holy people you shall be unto Me.” We are entering this marriage with the commitment to live a consistent life as Holy people in all matters that pertain to Moshe and Israel. Whether it pertains to Torah commandments regarding His service or to our interpersonal relationships, we will perform everything without any compromises or deviations.

My dear Chatan, by proclaiming the harei at mekudeshet li, you demonstrated your conviction to the lifestyle we delineated, and your dear Kallah, by accepting the ring, silently agreed to be a partner in that endeavor. May the mission you are undertaking be crowned with immense success, and may Hashem facilitate your endeavor by blessing you with all the best materially and spiritually.