6 Mitzvahs, 7 Weeks
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R' Yitzchak Berkowitz on The Six Constant Mitzvos - Introduction

The Beiur Halacha in the beginning of Orach Chaim tells us that the six constant mitzvos are quoted from the Chinuch. Six of the 613 Mitzvos are relevant all the time. So before going into any details, the question is how do you do six things at the same time, all the time and also live? You have to live a normal life, while still fulfilling other mitzvos, that perhaps take up your whole brain. How are you supposed to learn Torah while thinking of the six constant mitzvos at the same time? How is it possible to do these six mitzvos while simultaneously doing everything else?

All six mitzvos are mitzvos that we would call chovos halevovos - the duties of the heart. We use the term heart, but we’re obviously referring to the human brain.

In the first of the six mitzvos the mitzvah of emunah, the Rambam writes that there’s a mitzvah to know, leidah-- know that there’s a First Cause, a First Source. It’s referring to Hashem, the Creator of the Universe.

To know--what exactly does the word to know mean? A mitzvah to know, a mitzvah to accept. The Rambam doesn’t seem to take that option. The Chinuch certainly doesn’t make it sound like the mitzvah is to accept. What does to know mean? This is a simple vocabulary word. Leidah means to be aware--it’s an awareness. And this really is the introduction to the six constant mitzvos. We’re talking about six attitudes that a Yid is supposed to walk around with.

You know, whenever we make any decision whatsoever we don’t sit and really think through every aspect of it. For example, it’s cold outside. Do you put on a coat or do you not put on a coat? What goes into that calculation? Well, do I like the way my coat looks? It’s heavy, I’m not so freezing…It’s cold. I don’t like being cold. I may catch a cold. And what’s wrong if I catch a cold? It’s uncomfortable to have a cold. So now I have this discomfort versus that discomfort. The discomfort of feeling cold, the discomfort of possibly catching a cold, and the discomfort of wearing this heavy thing on my shoulders. And I’m thinking through which discomfort disturbs me more. Tell me, do you ever remember yourself making these calculations? Who thinks like that? If you do, I can recommend someone for you to speak to. That’s not the way we think. The answer is that it’s all going on inside us. Through experience we have developed attitudes that help us to make decisions. In a split second all the calculations happen on their own.

There are always attitudes that we have that are involved in our making decisions. The six constant mitzvos are the six attitudes that must be included in your vocabulary of attitudes when you’re making any decision in life. They must always be there. Every decision you’re making, every time you decide how to spend your time, what you will do what you won’t do, what you will say what you won’t say, all the time these attitudes are to be present. And then you’ll make the right decision. But this is what the Torah obligates us in--that these attitudes become part of our thought processes. We are obligated to do whatever’s necessary to permanently implant them in our thought process. The mitzvah is to make sure that we get them in there. 

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