Mitzvot As Spiritual Practices: Enthusiastic Actions That Bring Us Together!
By Sherrie B. Miller
“Tzav et Aharon,”
command Aharon. (Vayikra 6:2)
According to Rashi, the language “Tzav,” is intended to indicate that relating to
mitzvoth must be by acting with alacrity (ziruz), immediately and for eternity.
The Chassam Sofer adds another dimension to the use of the word “tzav.”
“Tzav” is derived from the word “tzavta,” which means team, togetherness, and associated
with “hitchabrut,” a permanent and everlasting connection. We are meant to accelerate
the pace and quality of serving Hashem through mitzvot and join with the Shechina,
the Source of our Soul, as long as we are alive! The Chassam Sofer refers us to
the quote in Devarim 4:4: “You that did cleave unto Hashem your G-d are alive every
one of you this day.” The fascinating use of words is reflected in the Hebrew word,
“deveikim,” meaning the cleaving and uniting of Jews with Hashem; the word “devek,”
in Modern Hebrew means glue. Our efforts toward this end will ensure our being inseparable.
We learn a great deal from the mingling of all of these Torah concepts: Mitzvah,
Tzav, Ziruz, enthusiasm and alacrity and deveikim, “joined with glue.”
Herein lies the secret of true bonding and an enduring relationship.
No matter how much we want to hear the bells and see the fireworks, the surest and
most certain way to promote and achieve a loving union is through continuous passionate
actions that are done with alacrity and with enthusiasm.
Hashem draws us b’tzavta, together, through the myriad and diverse mitzvoth (commandments)
that shape our lives and guide our every move. We “glue ourselves” to Him by constantly
fulfilling His commandments and wishes, consciously and enthusiastically.
This constant doing and desire to know Him and adopt His ways will result in the
attachment of Myself to Him. Actions, the Mitzvot are Spiritual practices that promote
and cultivate the process of bonding and unification.
This is a life long endeavor. As the Sefer Hachinuch tells us: our hearts follow
our actions! Rav Dessler wisely points out that we love those to whom we give, and
not as is commonly thought, that we give to those whom we love. It’s the investment
of myself that creates my love for another.
Similarly, the relationship so sought after between a man and a woman is a life
long endeavor entailing a lot of work, investment of time, energy and vigor. We
must never feel that we hit the “homerun” (after marriage) and can now sit back
The fact that I don’t feel “this is the one” after a couple of dates is only natural.
The ongoing investment has not yet been made; the time has not been spent. The commitment
to be involved in continuous “doing” for another has not been proven with the test
of time. Loving and caring is an ongoing process that increases the more I give
and invest in the other. It is not magic!
In Shmoneh Esrei two of Hashem’s attribures teach us a great lesson: first we say:
“boneh Yersushalayim” and then “matzmiach yeshua.” First comes the deliberate building,
brick by brick, day by day, followed by the evolution and process of redemption.
This notion is reinforced with one of the sheva brachot: wishing the couple to build
a binyan adei ad, that the (building) marriage last forever; alternatively, the
building can be understood as a verb: the work of building is never-ending.
Hashem can bring redemption instantaneously, but He chooses not to in order to teach
us the value of slow and painstaking steps that are part of the process of reaching
closeness and unity.
As my dear friend and teacher Esse Chasin A”H said in her book, Mitzvot as Spiritual
Practices: “The mitzvoth offer health and happiness-a silver platter of goodies
that are Hashem’s menu…the key to the gate of harmony, your way of keeping friends
and treasuring relationships.” Correspondingly, the term “Tzav” alludes to the enthusiastic
deeds that we ought to devote to a relationship, which in turn empowers and nurtures
it, joining two partners for eternity!
Sherrie Miller M.A.
Sherrie is the SawYouAtSinai ‘Article of the Week’ writer as well as a dedicated
SYAS matchmaker. Trained as an educational guidance counselor, group leader, pre-marital
coach, matchmaker and Judaic Studies teacher, Sherrie is dedicated to promoting
and enhancing emotional intelligence and communication skills in conjunction with
Sherrie received her educational counseling degree from the Michlalah in Bayit Vegan
and an M.A. in Education and Counseling from Touro College, Jerusalem, Israel. Sherrie
also holds a B.A. in Speech Pathology and Audiology from Brooklyn College and a
B.Sc. from Yeshiva University in Jewish Education. Sherrie is certified by Midreshet
Emunah and is accredited by the Rabbanut of Israel, to be a pre-marital couple’s
counselor and Kallah teacher.
Choices of the Heart, a preparation and enrichment program for nearly-wed and newly
wed couples, run by Sherrie Miller, focuses on teaching communication skills between
couples, using Jewish wisdom and Torah sources. The workshops offer tools to build
skills and realistic goals that empower young couples with on their way to establish
a Jewish home.
Having counseled singles and made a number of successful matches resulting in marriage,
Sherrie volunteers as a matchmaker for SawYouAtSinai.
Sherrie has a private practice in Jerusalem and can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at
both 718-874-0677 (USA) and 054-475-5153 (Israel)
This Jewish Dating Column is brought to you by SawYouAtSinai, the Jewish Matchmaking
service. Articles are often written by Jewish matchmakers, to help Jewish singles