A well-known Rabbi once spoke at a summer camp regarding the importance of Ahavat Yisrael – loving one’s fellow Jew.
Later that day, one of the parents asked their child, “So, what did the Rabbi talk about in camp?”
“He spoke about loving your fellow Jew,” replied the son.
“Well, so do I,” countered the father.
“But Dad, he really meant it,” responded the son…
We all have fond Mitzvah memories. Someone inspired us, or we may have witnessed a sincere and heartfelt mitzvah and were transfixed by its energy.
Every mitzvah has its own unique flavor, whether it be Shabbat, which creates a feeling of warmth and unity among family members, or tefillin, which involves a uniquely intimate moment with G-d. Whatever the mitzvah, it’s important to tap into the life of the deed and find that place inside ourselves where we make it our own. The key is for it to resonate with us.
The Talmud records a discussion in which one sage turns to another and asks: “Which mitzvah was your father’s specialty?” Indeed, each one of us has a mitzvah that we are intrinsically connected to; it is up to us to find the one that truly draws us in.
That’s why I don’t like the term practicing Judaism. It gives off the wrong vibe. It should be called living Judaism. We do not practice it, we live it!
In fact, Jewish engagement and continuity is not about how much we practice, it’s about how much we live it. Focusing on the life of a mitzvah is not only invigorating for ourselves, but it also ensures that our children receive a Judaism that’s dynamic and alive, leaving an impact on generations to come.