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    How many b’rachot? – Ki Tetzei

    mitzvotThe portion this week is replete with commandments, more than any other section of the Torah. Interestingly, almost all of the commandments are ethical.

    The critics who think Judaism is impossible to observe, slander the Jewish way of life by thinking it is chock-full of what they call ritual commandments, and they complain that it is all so stultifying that it leaves no room for anyone to move.

    They point to the fact that there is a teaching that every Jew should say a hundred blessings every day.

    What a mistake they make when they think that these blessings are limited to what you eat, what you pray, what you do on Shabbat. What they conveniently forget is that every decision you make during the day is an integral part of being Jewish.

    True, there isn’t a b’rachah that says, “Praised be God who commanded us not to cheat our fellows, praised be God who commanded us to speak the truth, praised be God who commanded us to love and help other human beings”.

    Why are there no b’rachot for such basic ethical duties and decisions?

    Possibly because they have no measure.

    You can’t quantify what percentage of the truth you must tell, what proportion of human beings you must assist, how much of your monetary advantage is expendable in the interests of honesty.

    The duty in all these cases can’t be measured in such a way that when you reach the red line you can breathe a sigh of relief and say, “I’ve done all the good deeds God commanded. Now I can get back to being sinful and selfish!”

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