This week’s Parsha is Parshas Yisro. In this Parsha the Jewish people are given the Ten Commandments. The first of them is the famous Statement, “I am the Lord Your G-d who has taken you out of Egypt from the house of slavery.” Miamonidies, as well as most other commentators, count this as one of the 613 commandments – belief in G-d. At first glance this is obvious, as the vcry core of Jewish belief is that there is one G-d. However, there is a most basic question that is raised and that must be thought about. How can there be a mitzvah, a commandment, to believe? When we command someone to do something, it’s understood that we are talking to someone who believes that there is a Commander, and now must do as he or she has been instructed. However, when it comes to the concept of belief, it is very different. Who is this commandment given for? If the person we are talking to already believes, then what is the reason for the commandment? If they don’t, how does commanding them to believe make them believe?
In the beginning of the Code of Jewish Law, the commentaries tell us that there are six mitzvohs temidios – six commandments that are constantly obligatory upon every Jew- 24 hours a day- 7 days a week. The first of these commandments is belief in G-d. It’s not enough for a person to merely have in their subconscious the belief that there is a Creator in this world. There is a mitzvah to actively think about Him. Every second that a person does this they fulfill a mitzvah. The affect of this mitzvah cannot be impressed enough. The way we act, how we speak, the actions we take, are all affected when we realize before Whom we are standing. This is the first of the ten commandments. Not just are we to know that there is a Creator, but we must think about Him and live in His presence. The mitzvah is not commanding one to believe in G-d but rather to constantly think about Him and to relate to Him. This beautiful mitzvah affords us an unlimited opportunity for connecting with G-d.