This Shabbos we read Parshas Yisro. The most famous part of the Parsha is the Ten commandments. As the entire Jewish people stood at Mount Sinai, they experienced the revelation of Hashem, as he revealed Himself to them. The Sages forbade the recital of the Ten commandments as part of the daily service, out of concern that one may come to regard the Ten commandments as being more important than other parts of the Torah.
The first of the Ten commandments is one of the most famous verses in the Bible. 'I am the Lord your G-d who has taken you out of Egypt' (Exodus 20:2). Is this statement one of the 613 commandments? This question is the subject of a major dispute among the early authorities. Miamonidies, Nachmanidies, and many others, count it as a mitzvah. The Behag, a very important early authority, maintains that this is not a commandment; rather, it is the introduction neccesary before we can even consider doing the commandments.
The commentaries pose a strong question on the opinion of Maimonodies. How is it possible to command a person to believe? If the person already believes then there is no need for the commandment; if they don't believe, then commanding them will not accomplish anything. Just because you tell someone to believe it will not make them really do so.
We know that in knowledge there are different levels. One may believe that their neighbor is wealthy; One may have reason to believe so; but at the end of the day this is a belief, an educated assumption. They may have declared bankruptcy, may be living on credit cards,…On the other hand, we know that there are 10 fingers on our hands. This is not a belief, but knowledge.
We are taught that 6 of the 613 commandments are constant commandments. In the words of the commentaries their obligation does not stop for a person even for one second of our entire life. Every time we think about Hashem, we are thus fulfilling this mitzvah. More than that, every time we think about Hashem we are reinforcing our belief in Him and bringing it that much closer to being a level of knowledge. This is a most beautiful way of understanding what the mitzvah of Emunah, of belief in Hashem is. Every time that we think about Him, every time we reflect about this, we fulfill a mitzvah, and we make this belief closer to a reality of knowledge. The challenges we face in every day life now take on new meaning as we are reinforced with the feeling and security that there is a Creator who is guiding us in all steps of our life.