> Judaism 101 > Philosophy > Deed and Creed

5. The Most Important Mitzvah

April 23, 2014 | by Rochelle Lev and Rabbi Benjamin Blech

Removing one little piece may ruin the whole picture.


Required Reading Understanding Judaism p. 5-14 

Required Reading Pirkei Avot 2:1

Rebbe (Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi) said: Which is the right course that a person should choose for himself? That which is distinguished for he who adopts it, and brings him distinction from people.

Be as careful with a minor mitzvah as with a weighty one, for you do not know the reward given for mitzvot. Reckon the loss that a mitzvah entails against its reward; and the benefit gained from a transgression against the loss it brings.

Reflect on three things and you will not come into the clutches of transgression. Know what is above you: an eye sees, an ear that hears, and all your deeds are recorded in the Book.



(1) What reason does Rabbi Blech give for the statement that all mitzvot should be viewed as equal?

(2) Explain the statement: "If a law comes from God then its jurisdiction is absolute" (Understanding Judaism, p. 7). Why is making a distinction between mitzvot problematic?

(3) How should the principle to "view all mitzvot as equal" affect our approach toward the mitzvot that we come across?

(4) What is the point that Rabbi Blech is trying to bring out from the exchange between Rabbi Lau and Ben Gurion? Why is Ben Gurion's behavior considered problematic?

(5) "To accept God's law, is to accept its entirety." How can we reconcile the need to accept all mitzvot without exception, with the notion that a person is a "work in progress"?

See Answers


Leave a Reply

🤯 ⇐ That's you after reading our weekly email.

Our weekly email is chock full of interesting and relevant insights into Jewish history, food, philosophy, current events, holidays and more.
Sign up now. Impress your friends with how much you know.
We will never share your email address and you can unsubscribe in a single click.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram