Saturday, July 18, 2009

On Actualizing Mitzvot

On Actualizing Mitzvot

Shai comments on "Existential Angst" about what Judaism is and will become:

The weight of individual decisions, if we are taught to make decisions with responsibility, will decide what Judaism is. In effect, the attitude here is that the mitzvah, not the halacha, has primacy, and there is the assertion here that mitzvah and halacha are not the same thing, and that we shouldn't turn the latter into the equivalent of an idol when in effect it's a tool to ensure the actualization of the former. The latter is the technical spec for the former, and the measure of success is not whether we've succeeded in meeting the technical spec, but whether we've found a way even outside it to ensure that the mitzvah has been performed.

I think he makes an excellent point here, although I'll add one comment of my own to it - one doesn't necessarily need to be taught (from an external source) to make decisions with responsibility, one however, does need to learn (from an internal source) to do this. As there are many ways to "actualize" a mitzvah, there are many ways to "learn" responsible decision-making.

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