The Mitzvah System
Gregory from Milwaukee, WI wrote:
I am taking a class at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, so that I can better understand Judaism. My question for you is this: Why is the mitzvah system (by mitzvah system, I mean the 613 commandments that Jews are obligated to observe) considered so important? It has not been my experience that these commandments carry the same significance in other religions as in Judaism. Thank you.
Let me explain with a parable. Imagine that the president calls you to his office and gives you 10 million dollars and a strange gadget. He tells you to take the gadget home, put it by the open window and turn it on every day between four and five in the afternoon, and that it's a matter of national security. He tells you that the 10 million is yours so long as you continue to do your task faithfully every day. You would certainly do it, even though you didn't understand why, because you know that the president has access to special information and technology that you don't have. You would feel sure that somehow this gadget has some function that, even though you don't understand it, is crucial for national security.
So too, even though we don't understand the ultimate reason for all the commandments, but since
We are not to "pick and choose," but rather to do all the commandments, as