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  • Yehuda Pevzner

I do, because I'm a Jew

This Sunday, we celebrate the holiday of Shavuot. Shavuot is when we received the Torah. In the Torah, there are 613 commandments, laws which connect us with G-d. With a few exceptions, the Mitzvot are all physical actions which we are told to perform.

When the king of the Kuzari Kingdom was investigating Judaism, he was told that it’s not enough to be religious at heart, his actions need to be religious, too. Speaking with a non-Jewish philosopher, he was told that the main important thing in religion is to believe in one Creator. Obviously, that is not true for Judaism.

Why is it that action is the main thing? Why is Judaism different from other religions that preach about spiritual matters?

G-d wants us to serve Him with our physical body in this physical world. He doesn’t want our Judaism to be just with our heart or soul. He wants it to encompass every part of us. So when we put on Tefilin, we’re using our hands and head. When we make a blessing, we’re using our mouths. All very physical actions, elevating this physical world.

As Descartes said, “I think, therefore I am”. In Judaism, we say, “I do because I’m a Jew”.

May we celebrate Shavuot happily and full-heartedly!

For more information about the holiday, including candle lighting blessings & times, please visit

Shabbat candle lighting time in NYC is 8:04 PM

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach!


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