Introducing Obligation

Jews are used to thinking about obligation: the concept of the mitzvah is deeply embedded in Judaism. The traditional idea behind the mitzvah is, of course, that there is a certain way to live that has been passed down through the generations, originating with God. This way of life is obligatory for the individual. The individual can decide with his/her own free-will to ignore the rules and regulations that constitute the basis of the whole Jewish way of life. The individual can reject the idea that he/she is commanded. However, according to traditional Judaism, if a person does not do these things he/she is doing the wrong thing. There is a right way of life and a wrong way of life. The person who is commanded is obligated to the concept of Halacha: they must do the right thing.

The concept is familiar from the religious sphere and each Jew deals with it in their own way. Some accept the idea and do what they understand they are required to do. Others accept the idea but do not incorporate it totally into their own life. Others reject the very idea of commandment and live their own lives according to the dictates of their individual conscience. However, we rarely, if ever, stop to consider the relevance of the idea to the Jews as a nation. Is there any way in which individual Jews are obligated to the Jewish national framework? This is what we aim to deal with in the following exercise.


Nationally Commanded



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07 Dec 2006 / 16 Kislev 5767 0