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I don't understand

Thursday, 25 June, 2015 - 9:40 pm

There is a question that many ask: Why should I observe the mitzvot that I do not understand?

I recently received an email (from the Avner Institute), that included a transcription of a private audience that took place on May 21 1963, between the Rebbe and a group of teenage students.

I will share an exchange that I think answers this question.

Student: What has kept the Jews together and caused the Jews to last all these years? 

Rebbe: According to the approach of science to all historic events, we must study history and find out the common points and denominators that have not changed. If for 3,000 years we have withstood all the persecution and pressures, then there must be something special during all these 3,000 years. For if there was a period during which this “common denominator” was not present, then the Jewish people would not have been able to overcome the persecution during this period.

If we study Jewish history, we see that all things change – the language, territory, government, clothing,  culture and the outside world. The only unchanged thing in all these years is the daily observance of Torah and mitzvot. The Tefillin have not changed all these 3,000 years. The same goes for Shabbos and the Dietary Laws of Kosher. We have the same Chumash as 1,000 and 2,000 and 2,500 years ago.

Forty days after the giving of the Torah, a mighty group made the Golden Calf. During the time of the Temples there were idol worshippers. Since the time of the temple, there were other groups and individuals who deviated from daily Torah observance. Some of these groups were powerful, but no trace was left of them five or six generations later.

Strictly from a point of historical research, we must accept the facts even if we don’t understand them. This common denominator; of daily mitzvot observance, has kept the Jews to last all these years.

While there may be mitzvot we don’t understand, observing those mitzvot (and those we do understand), is a way to ensure Jewish Continuity.

What do you think?

Have a good Shabbos!

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman

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