Jewish Journal

For the Kids

by Abby Gilad

January 30, 2003 | 7:00 pm

Does your mother ever tell you to do something like clean up your room or put your socks in the laundry? And then, when you ask her why you have to do it, she says: "Because I said so!"

   In Parshat Mishpatim, after hearing Moses speak of the many mitzvot (613 to be exact) they would have to keep, the Israelites declare: "Na'aseh venishmah!" ("We will do it and we will hear it!") Don't they mean: "We will hear it, and then we will do it"? How can you do something before you hear what it is you are supposed to do? The rabbis answer: "When the people said 'hear,' the meaning was 'understand.'" Sometimes we are told to do something, and we don't completely understand why we have to do it. But, if we trust that the one telling us knows what they're talking about, we will do it anyway.

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