In this week’s Torah portion, we receive the mitzvos that are considered to be rational and easily comprehended by human intellect.
Interestingly, these commandments present a unique challenge to the oved Hashem, a person who tries to serve the Creator. When the believer does a religious act such as keeping kosher, observing Shabbos, or sitting in a sukkah, there is an obvious spiritual dimension and divine connection. Following the laws of business, however, or making sure to be 100% honest – while the morally correct thing – may feel mundane and, at most, secondary to more obviously “spiritual” aspects of religious observance.
This is not the case. In fact, it was for this reason itself Hashem didn’t command us to live moral lives and leave us to figure out “good” for ourselves – as the Gemara says, “If the Torah would not have been given, we would have learnt modesty from a cat.” If the Torah wasn’t given. Now that it was given, we don’t learn it from nature, but rather as a directive from Above. Once the Torah was given, we don’t lead ethical lives only because it feels right for society. It’s much more than that. These are G-d given laws through which one connects to Him just as one does on Yom Kippur.
We don’t repay a loan simply because it feels right. We do so because the Creator willed it in the Torah and put it in the very DNA of creation.
This doesn’t mean that we abandon all attempts to rationally understand or relate to these mitzvos. On the contrary, an important aspect of mishpatim is to understand and relate to these laws as much as we can. In a sense, you can say the purpose of creation was precisely these mitzvos. It is through these commandments that we involve our human intellect and moral compass, schlepping them along in our service of the divine.
May we strengthen our resolve to become more scrupulous in the mitzvos bein adam l’chaveiro, ushering in the time when we will all feel spirituality in the mundane, for it will reveal that Hashem echad.
Wishing you a wonderful Shabbos,