02 March 2016

Fulfilling the 613 Mitzvot

22 Adar I 5776

What to do about the mitzvot encumbent upon us but which circumstances beyond our control prevent us from performing?

Take for example the offering of korbanot in the Beit HaMikdash...
...the Chachamim say that anyone who engages himself in the laws of the Chatat (sin) offering, it is as if he offered a Chatat; and anyone who engrosses himself in the laws of the Asham (guilt) offering, it is as if he offered an Asham. Likewise, when one engages himself in the laws of any of the korbanot, it is as if he brought those offerings (Menachot 110a).
The idea behind this is that every deed performed in the world possesses an inner soul. The soul of a mitzvah is the words of Torah that discuss that mitzvah. These ideas especially pertain to the korbanot, for the essence of the korbanot is to express our connection to Hashem. Therefore, when one cannot actually bring the offerings, the study of them is considered a substitute for their sacrifice (see also Maharal, Gevurot Hashem, chapter 8). (Source)
This is why we have a section on korbanot in our daily prayers. Every time you say it aloud with real intent and yearning for the opportunity to bring your offerings to the Holy Temple in reality, it counts as having performed the mitzvah itself.

And this concept can be applied to any mitzvah which for the time being remains out of our reach.


  1. Remembers me the passuk in Tehilim about the Torah:
    עץ חיים היא למחזיקים בה ותומכיה מאושר
    "Its a tree of life for whom holds it and anybody that supports it is happy" (approximate translation English is not my native language).
    And the question asked in the Zohar (from remembering, didn't find the exact quote yet): is it possible for a human being to hold a whole tree? Practically impossible. And the Zohar continues: like a tree that is made of deep roots, a solid trunk, and multiple branches, so is our Torah, a magnificent tree with 613 branches.If you want to hold this tree, choose an accessible and solid branch, attach yourself to it, and from this base, while everytime you care you're still attached to this branch and care to strengthen your link even more, try to reach the others to create other connections. So is the Torah, choose one accessible mitzvah, try to accomplish it perfectly, everyday, better each day, and from this base try sincerely to reach the practice of the others, and to attach yourself strongly like you did with the first one. So from the beginning you will be considered holding the whole tree...
    Especially in these times, may all Bnei Israel be considered holding the tree of life.
    Thank you Devash and bessorot tovot.
    Itzhak, Yerushalaim.

    1. Thank YOU, Itzhak. That was beautiful!

  2. Sorry for the mistake, the passuk "Etz haim..." Is not from Tehilim but from sefer Mishlei.

  3. Amen! Thank you Itzhak, beautifully written and very uplifting. nili