A Positive Commandment


I try to spend each Saturday morning in Shabbos services at my synagogue.  You may or may not have ever attended a Jewish prayer service, let alone a Saturday morning.  One thing you won’t find is anything that looks like, “G-d, please give me ____”.  The Jewish prayer book focuses on our relationship with G-d, our place in this world, and most importantly, our responsibilities to our G-d, our fellow man, and to the world in general.

We are all familiar with the Ten Commandments.  The first five deal with our relationship with G-d.  The second specifically deal with our relationships with our fellow man.  But there are actually 613 Mitzvot, the dos and don’ts of Judaism.  The daily Jewish prayer service touches on many of them.   Though most of the prayer service at my synagogue, Chabad of Solon, is principally in Hebrew, our prayer book includes English translation.

I was reading part of the opening daily Blessings yesterday.  This is a section that one is supposed to read at the start of each day.  I was struck by this paragraph:

“These are the precepts for which no fixed measure is prescribed: leaving the crops at the edge of the field for the poor, the gift of the first fruits, the pilgrimage offerings when appearing before the L-rd, on the three festivals, deeds of kindness, and the study of Torah.”

In other parts of the service, whether daily or on the Sabbath, there are numerous mentions of our responsibility to provide “food for the wayfarers and charity for the needy”.   How we treat our fellow human beings is an integral part of the practice of Judaism.  Can we / I do better?  Of course, but our failings are no excuse to not attempting to do better.

Today is the Yahrzeit of Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson.  It is our custom to do a Mitzvah in honor/memory for someone who is no longer with us.  It is an even greater Mitzvah if one can motivate others to participate.  I will be donating to our local Kosher Food Bank in his memory.  I invite you to find a food bank in your area, it doesn’t need to be Kosher, to help feed those in need.

Together we will perform the positive law of providing food.  And we will make the world a better place for everyone.



Picture – A Good Read – David L Cunix