Tag Archives: mitzvot

Most Difficult Mitzvah

I was asked the other day which mitzvah I found the most difficult to do. Truth is, out of the 613 mitzvot that we have from the Torah, there are a lot that we cannot do these days due to not having the Bet haMikdash, the Temple, in Jerusalem. But there are still a fair amount for us to do. (ETA: We have a lot of mitzvot that came about after the Torah that we do too).

I have trouble remembering to say Brachot. KoD never ever drinks or eats without saying the blessing first and / or after. NEVER. It’s so much a part of him. Me? Sometimes I am halfway thru eating something before I remember. However I always remind the kids. I am working on it. I have a great role model.

I hate covering my hair sometimes. Especially when it’s freshly washed and looks oh-so-good. On the bad hair days – it’s the easiest thing in the world. (These days the silver highlights that haven’t been coloured recently make it even easier to cover). I know some would argue on the importance of this mitzvah, but it is important to me.

Davening. I need to pray more. The men, they daven three times a day, and us women are not under the same obligation. But we still should daven. It’s something that I need to make time for. I am not the type to open up a Sefer Tehillim (Book of Psalms) when I have an idle moment, but that’s no excuse not to talk to G-d. I do have a running one way dialogue with Him – but formalized prayer needs to be added into that.

Thankfully I have never been tempted to eat trayfe or break Shabbat – I enjoy kosher food (being FFB I have never eaten non-kosher) and I LOVE Shabbat with every fibre of my being. I know some people find observing a whole Shabbat to be difficult. Maybe it’s easier for me because I have done it all my life?

Can you narrow it down to just one mitzvah that you find tough? How do you enable yourself to do this mitzvah when it IS so hard for you to perform?

No Mikvah for You!

OK, I am really angry. This has been going around my head for days on end. My friend Shorty is an awesome person. She started becoming more and more observant and is invested into her Judaism. Read her personal story here. Shorty wants to learn all she can about the best way to embrace her religion.

When Shorty was not on her religious path she married a truly wonderful man. He is totally sweet and so good to her. He isn’t Jewish. At that point in her life marrying Jewish was not on her radar. By her own admission she lived very much of an assimilated life. Life-threatening surgery started her religious gears churning, and she has been on the path to more Jewish knowledge ever since.

Shorty’s husband is extremely supportive of her quest for Jewish enlightenment. He is her number one cheerleader and takes pride in her.

Recently Shorty started attending a class locally, with other Jewish women, about the laws of family purity – Taharat HaMishpacha. Traditionally, during menstruation and for a week after a woman is not physical with her husband, she immerses in the mikvah, and they can re-consummate their physical relationship. It truly is something special in a marriage and when this mitzvah is performed properly it brings added benefits to the marriage.

Shorty was told that because her husband isn’t Jewish, she really shouldn’t bother with the whole thing. It’s like saying a bracha (blessing) on non-kosher food. It’s wrong.

If she is told not to bother with this mitzvah, why should she bother with any of the others? Do they also not count because she is intermarried? Should she not bother keeping kosher because her husband isn’t Jewish? Should she not say brachot on kosher food because her husband isn’t Jewish? If she gets into the practice of keeping the laws of family purity, and immerses in a mikvah – how can that be wrong? Is it not the woman’s mitzvah to keep? The husbands do not have anything at all to do with the keeping of this mitzvah except to not touch their wives when forbidden to. Shorty’s husband is more than willing to respect her observance of these laws. Shouldn’t we be encouraging people to keep more mitzvot, not push them away because “you’re intermarried, you couldn’t possibly keep this mitzvah properly”. If she does decide that she wants to go to the mikvah – would she be turned away? Is a mikvah attendant within her rights to do so? I think not. Even if the mikvah lady knows that a woman is not married, or married to a non-Jew, she has no right to refuse to observe an immersion.

I can think of plenty of Jewish husbands who don’t care if their wives use the mikvah or not, plenty of Jewish wives who don’t practice Taharat Hamishpacha properly because it isn’t important to them. Here is a Jewess willing to take on this mitzvah, which is HUGE, and she is being told not to bother. There is something wrong here.

Maybe one day Shorty’s husband will decide to convert. We don’t know the future. Pushing them away from keeping this mitzvah is not the way to keep a person interested in pursuing their religious ideals. Is it fair for a rabbi to tell someone NOT to keep a mitzvah? Is it moral?

Granted I do not know the halacha behind this issue, but in my book any discouragement of a Jewish person from keeping a mitzvah is just wrong.

Please chime in with your thoughts.

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