Though commonly translated as “a good deed,” mitzvah literally means “commandment.” Mitzvot [the plural form for mitzvah] are not what we should or are able to do, but what we MUST do. Undertaken accordingly, mitzvot facilitate our transition to being better Jews, and better persons.
During Rabbi Tepper’s February 5 Grade 7 Class at Holy Blossom Temple, students endeavoured to understand the difference between two types of mitzvot: the ritual and the ethical. Ethical mitzvot imply how we are to behave towards our fellow members of the human family [visiting the ill, comforting the grief-stricken, honouring parents]. Ritual mitzvot comprise the more-formal rules that are the framework for Jewish living [lighting Shabbat candles, building a sukkah, participation in Jewish learning]. The conversation, as always, was lively!
In the second part of the evening, Rabbi Jordan Helfman led all students in a thoughtful discussion on the nature of God, and before the evening concluded, Rabbi Helfman, Rebekah Houpt and Ido Mordechay guided Grade 6 and 7 students in a spirited t’filah.
All in all – a fulfilling evening of learning – and mitzvot!
Sh’vua tov/ a good week to all.
Rabbi Bill S. Tepper