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#790736 - 11/02/12 05:00 PM Mitzvahs and Their Significance
SandraJ Offline
Jellyfish

Registered: 11/01/12
Posts: 116
Loc: Oregon
I hope this title has gotten the attention of someone. I am not Jewish but I am fascinated and interesting in learning more about the religion. I have often wondered what a mitzvah is, why it is done and what is the origin of this act. Can someone enlighten me? Give me some examples? Thanks.

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#790751 - 11/02/12 06:10 PM Re: Mitzvahs and Their Significance [Re: SandraJ]
Lisa - Moms Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Chipmunk

Registered: 02/13/08
Posts: 1522
Loc: Arizona
Hi Sandra

Thanks for stopping by. The word mitzvah has evolved into a common but loose definition of "good deed". Mitzvah is actually the Hebrew word for commandment. There are 613 mitzvot, given to us by G-d. While many of them (i.e. - Temple sacrifices) do not apply to modern times, many mitzvot are still observed.

Examples of mitzvot are daily prayers, lighting Shabbat candles, to believe in one G-d, to honor your mother and father, treat your neighbor kindly, circumcision, etc.

I hope this fully answers your question. Please let me know if you have any other thoughts or questions. Any one else want to chime in?
_________________________
Lisa Pinkus

Moms Site

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#790767 - 11/02/12 07:36 PM Re: Mitzvahs and Their Significance [Re: SandraJ]
SandraJ Offline
Jellyfish

Registered: 11/01/12
Posts: 116
Loc: Oregon
Is there a rule on this website that we cannot say/type GOD??? Really, I don't mind. After all, this is a thread to talk about the Jewish religion. And, even though I am not Jewish, I do believe in God. Now, back to mitzvot. I think this is a wonderful tradition. Is this something a Jewish person should do every day? Is giving to the poor, helping the elderly, etc. considered mitzvot? I'm glad temple sacrifices are no longer practiced! ;) Thanks for educating me.

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#790769 - 11/02/12 07:50 PM Re: Mitzvahs and Their Significance [Re: SandraJ]
Lisa - Moms Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Chipmunk

Registered: 02/13/08
Posts: 1522
Loc: Arizona
There is no rule, Sandra. In fact, I have been asked to spell out - but I just can't, based on my own observance of Judaism. It is not prohibited to write out the name of G-d, but it is prohibited to erase the name. Call it superstition - it's a "habit" of respect. Please, feel free to spell it out! And take no offense by the 'dash' I use.

One cannot possibly do all of the mitzvot on any given day, but one of the drives of a Jewish life is fulfilling commandments/mitzvot. So, for example - a traditional Jew will pray three times a day, will say a blessing every time before eating - upon rising in the morning - and upon going to bed at night. Many Jews fulfill the mitzvah of lighting Shabbat candles every week. Many Jews also give Tzedakah/charity on a weekly basis - even if it's a few coins in a Tzedakah box.

When we help someone across the street, do a favor for our neighbor, help clean up the house - we are doing a mitzvah. There are many pathways to fulfilling the mitzvot. If you are interested in seeing a list of all 613, you can Google it.
_________________________
Lisa Pinkus

Moms Site

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#790771 - 11/02/12 08:03 PM Re: Mitzvahs and Their Significance [Re: SandraJ]
SandraJ Offline
Jellyfish

Registered: 11/01/12
Posts: 116
Loc: Oregon
I see what you mean about G-d. I now understand that it's not something you (as in others) do to be rude to other people but it is something you do to honor G-d. I certainly can change my behavior to respect and honor G-d. It will take me a while to develop this as a new habit. As a non-Jewish person, I think the 'tradition' of doing at least one mitzvot every day would be a good practice (I'm thinking of the good deed kind of mitzvot). I will Google mitzvot and see what all 613 are. This is very interesting. Thanks!


Edited by SandraJ (11/02/12 08:14 PM)

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#790773 - 11/02/12 08:16 PM Re: Mitzvahs and Their Significance [Re: SandraJ]
Lisa - Moms Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Chipmunk

Registered: 02/13/08
Posts: 1522
Loc: Arizona
That is extremely kind. I do not expect you - or even another Jewish person - to "practice" as I practice. Thank you for pointing out to me that it could be an issue and that people might not understand why I do it. I should put a disclosure at the end of my articles and forum posts. Or, I will seek advice from my Rabbi regarding whether or not I can spell it out for ease. smile

I think you will be surprised to find that you are already "doing mitzvot" and that other faiths have similar requirements about how to live and how to do good. There are many things that are still "easy" to do today - like honoring your parents and treating others as though they were created in the image of G-d, and not to lie, and to take care of the poor, etc.

Thanks for the conversation!
_________________________
Lisa Pinkus

Moms Site

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#790794 - 11/02/12 09:15 PM Re: Mitzvahs and Their Significance [Re: SandraJ]
SandraJ Offline
Jellyfish

Registered: 11/01/12
Posts: 116
Loc: Oregon
I don't think you need to change what you are doing or put a disclaimer on your posts/articles. If someone is confused, they should be able to ask...like I did. Since I'm just beginning my discovery of the Jewish religion I may ask questions that may seem rude or derogatory but I mean no offense. We should look at it as my ignorance and everyone can help me to understand. Are you a traditional or strict Jewish person? I don't know the right terms to use.

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#791426 - 11/07/12 02:03 AM Re: Mitzvahs and Their Significance [Re: SandraJ]
Lisa - Moms Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Chipmunk

Registered: 02/13/08
Posts: 1522
Loc: Arizona
No questions have been rude or derogatory. I appreciate them!

Both my husband and I grew up in what one would call a conservative synagogue. Our homes, however, were reform (very little religious observance). We both grew on our own and raise our family in a traditional or orthodox synagogue where we are two of the original founders. Our children attended a reformed Jewish preschool and then a community Jewish day school until it closed a year ago. We observe Shabbat - one might call us liberal modern orthodox.... but we don't really call ourselves anything.
_________________________
Lisa Pinkus

Moms Site

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#791794 - 11/08/12 04:35 AM Re: Mitzvahs and Their Significance [Re: Lisa - Moms]
SandraJ Offline
Jellyfish

Registered: 11/01/12
Posts: 116
Loc: Oregon
Thanks for sharing this information. I think I read somewhere that there are no longer any Jewish Temples? Is that true? What exactly does that mean? What happened to all the temples?

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#791818 - 11/08/12 01:41 PM Re: Mitzvahs and Their Significance [Re: SandraJ]
Lisa - Moms Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Chipmunk

Registered: 02/13/08
Posts: 1522
Loc: Arizona
Another great question.

Actually, the reformed denomination of Judaism tends to call their places of worship "temples". So, you may see Temple Beth Israel or Temple Chai as local synagogues.

The conservative and orthodox communities do not name their synagogues "temples". The Holy Temple or Beit Hamikdash was the place where the Jewish people came to bring their sacrifices. We no longer have the Holy Temple because it was destroyed.

The reformed movement tends to consider the modern day temples as a replacement for the Holy Temple.

Other modern day names for the Jewish place of worship is synagogue (which most Jewish people are comfortable with) and shul, which is a Yiddush word meaning "school" indicating that that synagogue is a place of worship and a place of learning.
_________________________
Lisa Pinkus

Moms Site

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