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    Do we start with belief? – Tzav

    The sidra begins (Lev. 6:2) with the word tzav – “command”, which indicates the basic Jewish concept of the mitzvah, the Divine deed.

    The question that faces the Jew is where to start with observance.

    Do we look at the command, find it enriches our lives, and say, “Because the commandment is good, it must come from a wise Commander and I therefore believe in Him”?

    Do we say, “Because I believe in God, I expect Him to command me what to do with my life”?

    Does the command lead to God: does God lead to the command?

    The answer is “both”. One approach is a foil to the other. If all we had was the commands we might follow them as a matter of sociology and say, “This is what a Jew does”. This might leave God out of the reckoning and reduce the commandments to folk-ways.

    On the other hand if all we had was God – admittedly a wonderful spiritual dimension on its own – we might become mystics without mitzvot. That would leave us with theoretical theology without a connection with ordinary life.

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