More Thoughts On Mitzvot

While it makes sense that, as finite beings, we can’t fully observe or understand the infinite levels, effects and implications of mitzvot, each of which are elements of the Infinite Torah, garments, as it were, of the Infinite God, we can be aware and can acknowledge that mitzvot are, indeed, infinite.  Some mitzvot have, among their array of effects, more impact in the world we do have access to, including the realms of the physical, emotional, mental or that tiny slice of the spiritual we can perceive.  Others have so much more impact in realms so far beyond our senses that it becomes difficult to apprehend, and easy to forget, that they also impact our material world.

Therefore, it’s important to keep in mind that even if the physical world were “perfected”, were all our crises, be they environmental, social, political, health, individual fulfillment “solved” we would still want to continue our commitments in order to continue improvements and refinements in the worlds beyond our grasp.  Likewise, if we only aim our mitzvot at the “spiritual”, foolishly thinking that the worldly is somehow trivial, we’ll guarantee we never reach those goals either because we will have neglected the more fundamental levels.  Just because we can never understand more than a limited sets of interactions with the world (of which we also only perceive a very limited portion) doesn’t mean that these are the only points of intersection.

Perhaps it’s a useful image to view individual mitzvot, as we engage them, as lines, as described by geometry, extending infinitely in both directions, penetrating to the depths of our material world and extending to the infinite heights of the unseeable, extending even beyond the boundaries of Sulam Yaakov, the famous ladder of Jacob’s dream (it only approached the ground, but when we begin to mount it, we do, in fact, provide the rest of the path into the material world).

I think all of us, from time to time, regardless of our involvement and commitment to mitzvot, resent their constant presence, their intrusiveness into every moment.  It’s easy to wonder why, in our daily liturgy, we thank and bless The Creator for obligating us to all these commandments.  We need to remember, though, that they continuously challenge and encourage us to extend ourselves as far as we can go, to the heights of spirit and to the deepest engagement with the mundane.  They allow us to be all that we can be, often in spite of ourselves.

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1 Response to More Thoughts On Mitzvot

  1. Pingback: More thoughts on Mitzvot (From Harry Zeitlin’s blog, Insights and Torah) | Kol ALEPH

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