Home Tags Mitzvot
There are 613 mitzvoth – we all know that. We also all know it is impossible for one person to perform all 613. Twenty-five mitzvot can only be performed in the Land of Israel, which leaves many Jews out in the cold, shall we say. After all, the people of Israel and the Land of Israel are inextricably intertwined; they are in fact dependent on one another for survival. But Judaism has a solution or as a modern Israeli would say, a “patent.” Mitzvot can be performed by proxy; by taking a part in a mitzvah one merits a share in the whole.
Question: Someone tried to observe Shabbat but could not hold out from violating its laws in the latter part of the day. Does he receive a reward for the amount of Shabbat he observed? Or is reward based on the principle of “all or nothing”? In other words, does Shabbat observance require a total commitment such that partial observance is comparable to not observing Shabbat altogether?
The forthcoming debate over an updated Tal Law – the parameters for service by haredim in the Israel Defense Forces – is liable to become heated and nasty. Mutual accusations will be hurled, with one group asserting that mandatory military service is part of an ill-disguised war against Torah and the other side seeking an equal sharing of the defense burdens that fall on most other Israelis.
It is simply not the same to put on tefillin or keep kashrut or observe Shabbat in the Diaspora as in Israel. The Torah is the constitution of a holy people in the holy land. Only in Israel is the fulfillment of the commands a society-building exercise, shaping the contours of a culture as a whole. Only in Israel does the calendar track the rhythms of the Jewish year.
“Women are obligated to participate in kindling the Chanukah lights,” instructs the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, a nineteenth century commentary on the Shulchan Aruch, the basic Jewish legal text. And, surprisingly, even more: “A woman can light the candles for all the members of her family.”
Elementary school children attending Lubavitch Educational Center (LEC) in Miami recently participated in an annual schoolwide campaign. The project reached out to the South Florida Jewish community and enabled many individuals to perform the mitzvot of Sukkot.
Nowadays, Jewish parents and educators must ask themselves how they can present Torah and mitzvot in a way that speaks to this generation. To many youth today, Judaism’s rich heritage seems outdated, irrelevant and boring.