A mitzvah is one of the Torah commandments that relates to Jewish observance and religious practice. There is a tradition that the Jewish people were given a total of 613 mitzvos (plural of mitzvah) at Sinai, composed of 248 Positive Commandments and 365 Negative Commandments. These divine laws are immutable and "Set in Stone".

Judaism is not as much a religion as it is a relationship.

Mitzvah observance is how a Jew relates to G-d. The commandments are the means of attaining this, as echoed in the Hebrew word mitzvah "commandment" that denotes "togetherness" or "connection". The central element of every mitzvah is the relationship that the religious duty forges with G-d to build an enduring and meaningful relationship with his Creator. It is part of the eternal covenant that stretches through the millennia all the way back to Sinai.

Judaism places mitzvah performance and action at the fore of religious life. What a Jew eats, what he wears and how he behaves every moment of his life are all governed by some mitzvah or another. Jewish symbols such as mezuzah, tzitzis and tefillin, the festival commandments of shofar, matzah and succah, man's business dealings and the Jewish family are but a few areas regulated by mitzvah observance.

The Jewish people have valiantly braved countless acts of oppression, persecution and ridicule to hold steadfast to their faith, forever maximizing their opportunities for forging a close relationship with G-d. With incredible self-sacrifice, they have devoted all their resolve to mitzvah observance even in the darkest times and have bequeathed their heritage onto the next generation.

It is a Jew's duty to have a basic knowledge of the underlying principles of Jewish law to perform what G-d desires of him as set down in the halachic work Shulchan Aruch, the Code of Jewish Law. It is similarly worthwhile for man to enhance his religious observance by delving into the meanings and rationales of the laws.

A mitzvah is not irrelevant or ancient cultural ritual. Jewish living is vibrant and alive, the words of the living G-d. It naturally carries within it a wealth of wisdom and the pathway to journeying a meaningful life. The study of ta'amei hamitzvos, the reasons of the commandments assures that mitzvah performance will not be stripped of its uplifting divine content and will not degenerate into rote or be deemed burdensome.

Mitzva.org is proud to present a portal through which to glimpse the wondrous wisdom of the divinely-given laws. It importantly explains how Jewish living speaks loudly to the twenty-first century contemporary Jew as it did to his ancestors.

Greater insight into this topic that stands at the heart of Jewish living will revolutionize one's mind-frame, enabling the Jew to emerge and be further inspired to relate to what Jewish living really means.