In this weeks Parshah we are presented with mitzvah after mitzvah as B’nei Yisrael (the Children of Israel) hear for the first time the laws of Hashem. A reading of the Parshah will enlighten many as to the variety, specificity and indeed obscurity (in our modern minds) of many of the mitzvot. As with several commandments the question can often be asked, ‘what is the relevance to me?’ It is only natural that with every Torah mitzvah we feel the necessity to try to discover a meaning appropriate to our lives and before taking on an obligation we fully understand its nature and how it will affect us.Yet this week we read how

B’nei Yisrael proclaim in response to the giving of the Laws “We will do and we will hear.”

Before internalising the meaning of the mitzvot, they commit to performing them. What an alien concept to every fibre in our westernized bodies! Faced with the undeniable presence of Almighty, however, the position of B’nei Yisrael was understandable, they did not have a need to understand the relevance of mitzvot – they KNEW they were right and appropriate, it couldn’t be denied. For us in 2007, we are faced with a greater challenge to become closer to the source of all life, wisdom and logic. We have an unreserved need to analyse the symbolism of rituals, their historical background, their application and their underlying philosophy. In doing this we feel we will truly understand their essence. It is hard to deny that we will become more comfortable with certain obligations but it must be understood that we will never truly appreciate the wisdom of the mitzvot until we actually do them. Our ancestors grasped the essential concept of being a good Jew immediately: that Judaism in the abstract alone can not lead to understanding but rather we will achieve clarity by the practice of the deeds themselves. Faith that the wisdom of Hashem outweighs the logic of the human is a difficult but fundamental challenge of growing as a Jew. Thankfully Hashem has provided us with constant reminders of this concept; next time your in the gym and you see that famous tick spare a moment for a Torah thought - Do not wait to do the right thing, “just do it!”

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