What is a Mitzvah ?
by Rabbi Mendy HechtA. A
B. There are two types of Mitzvahs mentioned in the Torah: Positive Mitzvahs and Negative Mitzvahs. Positive Mitzvahs tell you, “Do this!”: give charity, eat
There’s no set place and time that’s just for G-d... every place and time can shout out “G-d!”C. A Mitzvah is the ultimate expression of how Judaism views religion. It’s not a specific time, place, or with a specific thing, when or where or with which one has a relationship with G-d. Jazz great Herbie Hancock maintains a “religion room” in his home. In there, he’s religious. Everywhere else… well, you’ll have to ask Herbie about that. Judaism says you can, you should, have a relationship with G-d over the morning coffee—by drinking
ethical Mitzvahs are often difficult to observe, because violating them is easy to rationalize... yetdefinition they carry just as much weight as any other MitzvahHow do I do Mitzvahs?
1. Are You Positive?
Observing the negative Mitzvahs tends to be easier than observing the positive ones—after all, it’s simpler to not do something than it is to do something. On the other hand, sometimes you want to do those very things. You wanna sink your teeth into a pork sandwich—but you know it isn’t kosher, so you resist the urge. It ain’t easy—but it’s a Mitzvah.
2. Are You Ethical?
Because of the danger of moral relativism, G-d lays down moral absolutism with the Ethical Mitzvahs. Now, your mind is not the judge of who deserves death and who doesn't—G-d is. You don’t murder, period. The Torah decides what is ethical, not your conscience. So ethical Mitzvahs are often difficult to observe, because violating them is easy to rationalize. But observe them we must, for they carry just as much weight as any other Mitzvah.
3. Quality vs. Quantity
If you’re new to doing Mitzvahs, take things one step at a time. Don’t take on a whole ton—work on getting comfortable with the one or two or three Mitzvahs you’ve adopted until you’ve incorporated them into your lifestyle. Then, start doing more. Don’t forget, of course, that every Mitzvah has its entourage of