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How can we keep EVERY mitzvah?

Cursed is he who will not uphold the words of this Torah — to perform them; and all the People will say Amen (27:26)

According to the simple understanding of this verse, one who does not perform every single mitzvah in the Torah is cursed. However, we cannot take this statement at face value because there are many mitzvos in the Torah which only certain people are able to perform. For example, only a person who owns a field in Eretz Yisroel can perform certain mitzvos relevant to his land. Similarly, there are mitzvos unique to women and mitzvos unique.The Ohr Hachaim therefore explains that the verse is not telling us that one is cursed for not performing every mitzvah; rather, the curse is referring to one who is not willing to perform a mitzvah that may come his way in the future. As the Ohr HaChaim explains, one must accept upon himself to fulfill all of the mitzvos in his heart so that if he would to ever encounter them, he would be unhesitant in fulfilling them.

The message is that whether or not we are currently faced with an opportunity to perform a mitzvah, we must engender within ourselves the desire to take every mitzvah-opportunity that may come our way. In essence, we are being told to live for mitzvos, which is only achieved by conditioning ourselves to appreciate the opportunity that they give us to follow Hashem’s will.

An incredible example of this in practice was demonstrated by Rav Elyashiv who had hired an electrician to upgrade the electricity performance in his home. The work was finished just before Rav Elyashiv was informed that his daughter, Rebbetzen Zilberstein, had passed away. Rav Elyashiv immediately prepared for the funeral but asked his grandson to request the electrician return to his home. By the time the electrician arrived, everyone was waiting to leave, but Rav Elyashiv insisted on waiting so that he that could pay the electrician for his work in order to fulfil the mitzvah of paying one’s worker on the day he completes his job.[1] Only once he had done that, he agreed to leave for his daughter’s funeral.[2]


[1] Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat 339:1
[2] Rav Elyashiv, Artscroll. Page 220.

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