naked in front of the class

A work colleague who is not particularly observant of mitzwoth was joking yesterday about over shabbath how he had kept a laundry list of mitzwoth, incidentally, because of his friends' wedding.

It occurred to me that many people really do look at being Jewish as "doing mitzwoth." It's so foreign to my own perspective that I never really thought about it.

Mitzwoth are our clothes. A Jew is a Jew. Just like if you dressed up a football star in a cheerleader outfit, s/he could still play football. A Jew in any outfit is still a Jew. However, without all the padding and the helmet, the pompoms aren't going to protect him very much. Conversely, put a cheerleader in a football uniform and s/he doesn't magically know how to play football.

A non-Jew can do mitzwoth till they are blue in the face, but they haven't accomplished anything. A Jew without ever doing a formal mitzwah can change the world.

Of course if we are satisfied just being Jewish without bothering to perform the mitzwoth, there will come a time when we are embarrassed to discover we've been walking around naked our whole lives and never noticed.

(Sounds like Adam and Hava, no?)


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