Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Why does G – d care how we fulfill the Mitzvot ?


The Midrash Rabbah (Bereshit – Genesis) 44:1 is asking why G – d cares whether we slaughter the animal from the neck or any other part of the body ? Why did he give us all the Torah Mitzvot ?

Does He gain anything from whether I cook a chicken leg in a milk sauce ? Isn’t it much more important to know that there is a G – d; meaning grasping the Creator on an intellectual level ? Even if not and He commands me doing Mitzvot, why do I have to carry out everything in a special way ?

The same Midrash answers that from this we conclude that the Mitzvot were only given to purify man. Even the Gentile world should know His existence and not worshipping other Gods. However, we Jews received 613 Torah Mitzvot and are due to carry them out in a precise Halachic way. If the Torah doesn’t go into details, the Talmud does.

When I started learning in Yeshiva, we were always told that the Mitzvot give us a lifestyle of discipline. Jews have to behave in a human way and not follow their desires of the animal soul. At least not excessively. Eating, drinking, worldly pleasure YES but within limits. On the other hand, Jews have to elevate themselves on a higher level by fulfilling the Mitzvot. The Torah and the Mitzvot are the way G – d is communicating with us. How would we know His will if not through the Torah Mitzvot ?

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