Is it a mitzvah?

Thursday, 8 December, 2022 - 8:48 pm

What is a Mitzvah? 

Usually a mitzvah is translated as a good deed.


As in most cases, the translation of a Hebrew word is accurate but does not completely capture its meaning. 

A man comes to a marriage therapist and asks him: what do I need to make my wife happy? The therapist answered: I don't know, ask her! 

A man comes to a Rabbi and asks him: what do I need to do to make G-d happy? The Rabbi answered: I don't know, ask G-d!

What’s the answer? For your wife, ask her! 

They asked G-d, and the response was: Do my commandments as I told you in the Torah. 

The word mitzvah comes from the Hebrew word Tzav meaning commandment, as well as the Aramaic word Tzavta meaning connection. 

A mitzvah is an act that follows a commandment from G-d, doing G-d’s will, which results in a connection with G-d.

A mitzvah is not just a good deed done to get to heaven or to feel good or religious. A mitzvah is something done to be connected to G-d.

This is similar to a husband doing what his wife wants, because it is what she wants, even if he doesn't understand WHY she wants that.

See you on Shabbos, 

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman

P.S. this email was prompted by this email exchange –

Rabbi Kushi - Did you report your mitzvah at

M - Not yet. The definition of MITZVAH is a tough one.

I try to do good and help people every day. For instance, earlier this week, out of the clear blue sky, a guy called for advice on how to ...... How he got my number I will never know. I gave him every good tip and idea I had. I don't even know his name. Was that a mitzvah? It sure made him happy….

I try to be kind to animals, including my fellow man, and I try to forgive those who have done wrong, even if they are unrepentant. Are those mitzvot?

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