GATEWAYS TO TORAT HAYIM

 
CONNECTING TO JEWISH LIVING WISDOM RESOURCES

 

What Is a Mitzvah? The State of Being Connected

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by Freeman, Tzvi

“During past conflicts in the Land of Israel, and during times of danger for the Jewish people, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory, taught us that yes, there is something we can do.

 

The Rebbe taught us the power of a mitzvah… [which] elicit[s] G‑d’s blessings and protection [and have] the power to reach deep into the core of our being—where we are all one, and the physical distance between us is of no consequence. At this core, a positive deed on our part will help bring salvation to a brother and sister in distress.

 

What is a mitzvah? The simple meaning of the word mitzvah is command… It generally refers to the Divine commandments to the Jewish people, things He wants us to do or not do…

 

In common usage, a mitzvah often means ‘a good deed’… This usage is quite old—the Jerusalem Talmud commonly refers to any charitable act as ‘the mitzvah.’

 

… the word mitzvah is related to the Aramaic word tzavta, meaning to attach or join. Tzavta can mean companionship or personal attachment. In this sense, a mitzvah bundles up the person who is commanded and the Commander, creating a relationship and essential bond.

 

The three meanings can themselves be bundled together. ‘Good’ is defined as that which the Creator of the Universe wants done with His universe, and by doing that which the Creator wants done, we are bound up with Him in body, mind and soul.”