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Moshe Chaim Luzzatto

The way of God

Devotion in general consists of two elements: study and Mitzvot observance

Mitzvot Observance has four categories

  • First continuous

  • Second daily

  • Thirdly periodic

  • Fourthly circumstantial

Continuous observance includes all things by which man must constantly abide, such as the love and fear of God.

Daily observance includes things that must be performed daily. Prayer, Reciting the Shma, Torah study, Tsitzit

Periodic observance includes matter to be observed at specific times.

Shabbos, Festivals- Passover, Sukkot, New Year, Purim, Yom Kippur. Circumstantial observances depend on the circumstances, separating the dough when one bakes, circumcision and redeeming the first born.

All these are divided into 2 categories one consisting of what a person is required to do, Positive Commandments and the others what are forbidden to do. Negative Commandments or Prohibitions.

In general these two categories fulfil the concepts, “Depart from evil and do good “psalms 34:15

The main point of the entire matter is to direct ourselves towards Him through the ways He ordained for us, to draw close and become attached to Him

One must strive to remove all the obstacles of evil that are attached to his physical nature and spiritual darkness of this world.

Then one can make strong effort to bring himself near to Him until one becomes attached to Him and becomes perfected by His wholeness.

This is all God requires of man and is the entire purpose of creation.

The details of these concepts depend on the nature of man and the world. They also depend on the ways provided for man through which to completely perfect himself together with the rest of creation.

This is not acquired in a single stage. The soul strengthens itself through the observance of Mitzvot and the body is gradually enlightened. Each commandment is to attain a particular level of true excellence or to remove an area of deficiency.

This is accomplished by doing the commandments and avoiding the prohibitions. The true purpose of the commandments is to turn towards God, bringing ourselves towards Him and be enlightened by His presence. Avoidance of sin likewise enables us to avoid matters that would lead him away from God.

This is the true purpose of the commandments. The details of each commandment have extremely deep significance with relation to both man and creation.

Religious service and worship is for man to constantly be aware of his creator. He must realise he was created for the sole purpose of being drawn close to his creator. He was put in the world to overcome his evil urges and subjugate himself to the will of his creator through the power of his intellect and direct all his activities toward attaining this goal.

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