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Wednesday, February 28, 2024 - 19 Adar I 5784
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Mitzvot Then and Now
Joseph, son of Jacob, was sold as a slave and brought to Egypt, and then was later imprisoned for twelve years. Nevertheless, he did not stop his observance of mitzvot or his service of G-d for one moment.

Most mitzvot cannot be fulfilled as long as we are in exile. All mitzvot connected with the service of the kohanim, with the daily offerings, can only be kept when we have a Holy Temple in Jerusalem. The same applies to the many rules of purity and impurity. There are also mitzvot that depend on the existence of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish supreme court.

In essence it is G-d Who placed us in this situation of spiritual constraints. He also places obstacles and challenges in our path, making the observance of Torah and mitzvot difficult indeed. And this thought can lead to despair: Maybe if G-d has chosen to place us in this situation, it is a sign that this is not a fitting time for fulfillment of mitzvot. Perhaps we should wait patiently for the coming of Moshiach, when the difficulties will be removed. The Holy Temple will be rebuilt, the Sanhedrin will be restored, and then we will know that G-d desires our mitzvot.

The answer to this argument is provided for us by Joseph. Just like Joseph, we are sons of Jacob, and we must know that G-d's mitzvot are eternal for every generation. Any thought that negates fulfillment of mitzvot is an enticement of the evil inclination
In the proper time, Joseph was released from prison, as described in this week's Torah portion, and was even elevated to position of viceroy. We, too, will be redeemed in just the right moment, and will be elevated to a state where we will be able to fulfill all the mitzvot in their entirety.

(Torat Menachem 5743, vol. 2, p. 720)


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