Moral Principles and the Mitzvot



Only stated briefly in the Torah and need some explanation:

God gave this to Moses in the form on the Oral Torah.

The Oral and Written Torah made up by the halakhah (Jewish law from the written and oral Torah)

The great rabbi Judah the Prince decided that the Oral Torah should be written down to prevent difffernt forms of of the halakhah developing in differnt areas. So he compiled the Mishneh (The Oral Torah)

The rabbis' disscusions on the Mishneh were written down in the Talmud.

For most Jewish people the Mitzvot and halakhah are onebecause by following the halakhah the are keeping the Mitzvot.

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Jews Understanding of the Mitzvots

Even though the Mitzvot are commandments, each Jew much choose wether they want to follow them or not of thier own free will.

Judaism understands humans being made in God's image to mean that just as God is free to do whatever he wants, so humnas have been created with free will: every person is free to do good or evil.

In particular they are free to choose wether to obey or ignore the Mitzvot, which means it's somehing they will be judged on by God.

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It is important for Jewish people to understand th

  • Only if Jewish people really understand the Mitzvot will they keep them
  • The Mitzvot are God's way of reaching out the humans, and keeping the Mitzvotis the way to develop a relationship with God
  • Understanding the Mitzvot leads to a beter relationship between people- for example, the laws about borrowing and lending teach compassion
  • Some Mitzvot come with no given reason, for example keeping on a Kosher diet, it is important to understand that these are a test of faith.
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Orthodox and Liberal Views on the Mitzvot

The Mitzvot are tremendously important for Orthodox Jews

They believe they are the exact words from God to Moses. For Orthodox Jews there is a right and wrong way to do everything from dressing to orginising your kitchen.

The Mitzvot are not as important for Liberal Jews

They do not believe the Mitzvot came directly from God to Moses, they believe obeying the Mitzvot is personal choice.

Orthodox Jews believe the Mitzvot shoulkd be understood at a much deeper spiritual level.

Mitzvah is closely related to the Hebrew word for 'connection' and Jewish people believe that the Mitzvot are a way for individuals to connect with God. By keeping the Mitzvot, Jewish people communicate with God.

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the end

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