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Mitzvoth – Here, There and Everywhere

12/24/2020 03:55:12 PM


Rabbi Weill

Dear Friends,

Judaism is a relational religion. We were born with a brit, a covenantal commitment to God, and we express that covenant in relational acts both vertical and horizontal.

Vertical relationships refer to acts bein adam l’Makom, between each individual and God. These include mitzvoth (properly translated as commandments) like honoring Shabbat, keeping kosher, Torah study, and wearing ritual objects like tallises and tzitzit. Horizontal relationships refer to acts bein adam l’chavero, between one individual and another. These include mitzvoth like giving tzedakah, engaging in fair business practices, and rising before the aged.

It is a neat distinction, but, in truth, our mitzvoth are not so neatly divided. In fact, each mitzvah we perform for God somehow benefits others, and each mitzvah we do others enhances our relationship with God. For instance, the mitzvah of resting on Shabbat requires that we allow others to do the same. If we have some control over employees’ schedules, for instance, our Shabbat observance mandates that we allow them adequate time to rest as well. Moreover, when we honor the elderly or help to feed the hungry, are we not pleasing the Eternal Creator who created us all with dignity?

Mitzvoth release sparks that fly up, down and sideways. They sparkle in the heavens; they  illuminate the earth; they delighting God and they lift up our fellow human beings.

What the world needs now are mitzvoth, sweet mitzvoth – in a big way! So, so them! Consider taking on a new mitzvah and try to make it part of your daily practice. Besides pleasing God and others, it will bring great satisfaction to yourself as well.


Rabbi Jeffrey Weill

Tue, August 3 2021 25 Av 5781