What is a Mitzvah?

Every commandment is an opportunity to build a relationship with God.

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Comments (9)

(7) Tim, September 10, 2020 11:33 AM


This description was awesome. It helped me understand in the simplest terms the word I so often heard, but really didn't understand from a linguistic view.

(6) Yehudith Shraga, June 11, 2014 3:07 AM

Thank you for your explanation

Very nice concept of building the connection with the Creator through performing the Mitzvot, still it sounds a little bit, that the G-d is conditional, while we are taught by the Sages that He loves us by Unconditional Love.

Kabbalists explain, that the Mitzvot are the precious gift the Creator gave to us with one and the only purpose- for the creation to be able to come to the equality of Form with the Creator.
They teach us that as the Creator is the Absolute Bestowing Source, He has created the Kli(vessel)=Creation to bestow it with all possible good, but as the simple logic comes, for the Creation to receive His Abundance, the Creation should be the Absolute Getting Source, because one may not enjoy anything, if he/she doesn't wish it.
There is only on little "problem" the sages explain, the Spiritual levels connect according to the equality of the qualities and as the Creator is the Absolute Bestowing Source and the Creation is the Absolute Getting Source, they are absolutely opposite to each other in the Form.
The only way to resolve the problem is for the creation to learn to use its getting desire for the sake of bestowing, and that is why the Creator gave us a set of "exercises" to learn to make what pleases Him (la'asot Nakhat ru'akh leyotzro) and not only our own Self.

By learning the Bestowing way of life through performing the Creator's Mitzvot for the Sake of correction of our getting nature, and not for any other prize, we become more and more equal in qualities with the Creator, which means that we more and more come to be connected with Him.

(5) Anonymous, June 10, 2014 5:14 AM

What a classic idea that is so fundamental for a basic understanding of Judaism - presented in such a clear and eloquent way. Thank you!

(4) Mati, June 8, 2014 5:43 PM


Interesting that in the Ten Utterances, HaShem does not say "You shall not steal" (al tignov), but rather "you are not stealing" (lo tignov). This is instruction to have a better relationship with another and therefore a better relationship with HaShem.

Avi, June 8, 2014 7:33 PM

Hebrew Translation

Lo Tignov means "Don't Steel", "you're not steeling" would be Atem Lo Gonvim

Mati, June 11, 2014 6:02 PM


Actually, the "you" (not y'all) part of the word is the "ti" (t with an i vowel). the steal part is gnv (like ganav-a theif), lo means "no" and the phrase mean "no you steal(ing)". "Al" is the imperative form of "lo" meaning "I am ordering" like al t'dag (don't [you] worry). "Atem" means y'all (plural) not the singular "you" and the phrase atem lo gonvim is not found in the decalogue.

(3) rjungreis, June 8, 2014 4:04 PM

wonderful idea

can i please have a transcript/ i'd love to share these ideas with my partner

(2) Yosef, June 8, 2014 3:58 PM

Thank You

Wonderful, Rabbi.......thanks for your insight.....very clear......I appreciate this perspective....

(1) malka, June 8, 2014 9:01 AM

Good point. In a relationship, like with a spouse, you give the person what he or she wants, not what you want. If your wife wants flowers, you don't give her power tools, you give her what she wants. And if the husband likes a certain gift, you give him that. So too, when connecting to G-d, we should do what G-d wants. If we just do what we want, who are we serving? Us or G-d? That's why it's important that we learn what G-d wants so we can connect properly and have a meaningful relationship


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