31 July 2007

No mitzvos "lite"

Everything in Torah is exact, not a single world or expression is coincidental. This week’s chapter begins with the word “eikev”. The Sages immediately seize on this and declare that the Torah is alluding to commandments that are relegated to a lower status.

The Midrash tells us that King David was not preoccupied with the “heavy” commandments because those were most certainly done and adhered to. He was more concerned with the lighter commandments that are prone to be pushed aside.

If we think about the matter, a question will arise, as to how it was possible that King David was worried about keeping the lighter commandments in view of the fact that he was exceedingly scrupulous regarding all commandments!?

The intention on King David’s part was not to question or downplay the lighter commandments. His intention was to prevent and forestall the creation of an impression that some commandments are more important than others. And this is something that the Torah itself addresses.

A situation may arise whereby a Jew will in fact perform all the commandments but he may feel that some are less important than others. This impression is false is may prove dangerous in the final analysis.

It’s impossible to assign rank to commandments purely on an intellectual basis. The mind constantly evaluates (and in this it’s aided by logic and reason) the relative importance of this or that action. This applies to commandments as well. But since when do we rely on logic to determine the value of one commandment vs. another? After all, the reason we perform the commandments is solely because G-d has commanded them and who can delve into the reasons why it is so?

Every commandment is part of the Supernal Will emanating from the Infinite will of G-d. In this regard, all commandments are important since all are derived from His Essence. G-d’s Will does not lend itself to parsing out. Therefore, we must perform all of the commandments with utmost joy, devotion, and precision. That is why the Torah warns us to be punctual about keeping those commandments that seem less important in our eyes and promises great reward for keeping them.

Excerpted from the book “Shulchan Shabas” by the Lubavitcher Rebbe

No comments: