The sanctification of our lives is predicated upon separation from sin (Leviticus 19:2). Predominantly, in the modern world, outside of religious spheres, the notion of sin is not part of the everyday mentality of the common person. A call to cease from sin, when made amongst the general population would in all likelihood fall upon deaf ears. The word, sin is simply not a part of most people’s vocabulary today. To the extent that it may be recognized, it is often relegated to the “other,” or reframed within the larger context of questions of morality, that are more theoretical than actual. Yet, Torah is clear, in regard to sanctifying oneself through becoming aware of what constitutes sin, and making a sincere effort to change one’s ways.
Therefore, other than sanctifying time and space, as mentioned previously, the main avodah (service to G-d) is the sanctification of our very lives. This is the question that religion aspires to address: how to transcend the mundane, in order to perfect oneself for the sake of pleasing G-d, who only wants the best for us. It is not enough to conform to the ethical norms of society; G-d’s standards are higher. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the L-RD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9, JPS 1917 Tanach).