Kenneth Cohen

Following Hashem’s Command

The word “צו” means a command. When Hashem uses this word to instruct the Jewish people via Moshe Rabbeinu, it is assumed that this instruction will be fulfilled by the nation.

This leads to an important foundational concept as to how we are to observe the Mitzvot. Our Rabbis taught: גדול המצוה ועושה משאינו מצוה ועושה. “It is of greater merit to fulfill a Mitzva that we are commanded, than a Mitzva we are not commanded.”

This means that the laws of the Torah are not really open for discussion. If we believe that everything comes from Mount Sinai, which includes the Oral Law, we cannot dispute that which comes directly from G-d.

This phrase is teaching us that there will certainly be obligations that may not make sense to us. If we observe them anyways, without really understanding them, this is a demonstration of faith and trust in Hashem.

Jared Kushner was once asked how religious he was. He answered that he and Ivanka observed the laws of Judaism that made sense to them. With all due respect to the Kushners, they were missing the point. The reward comes specifically for observing the laws that don’t make sense.

This is how we fulfill the word “Tzav.” We view the Torah and Mitzvot as גזירת המלך, a decree of the King. And who are we to disagree with the King of the Universe?

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at
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