On a daily basis we all go through an internal struggle. We all wonder which mitzvot are more important, adam l’makom(man to god) or adam l’chavero (man to his friend). Sometimes we might even stop and ask ourselves, if we had to improve on one aspect of our daily life which aspect would it be, adam l’makom or adam l’chavero. On one hand the gemara inmasechet megillah 3b says that meyt mitzvah adiph (burying a dead person) is more important then Talmud Torah (learning Torah) or hachnasat kalah (providing for a bride). On the other hand it says that the gemara says in masechet Shabbat 127athat Talmud torah k’negged koolam (the study of Torah is equivalent to all of them).
The book Sefer Ha’Chinuch discusses the reasons for the mitzvot in the Torah. It follows the order of parshiot and lists every mitzvah of each week’s parsha, giving the reasoning for the mitzvot. In the introduction the (anonymous) author writes that while it is impossible to understand all the reasons for all the mitzvoth, he is attempting to explain whatever he does understand. He writes that he is only giving the reasons for the mitzvot so that we have a greater understanding of them and are therefore able to fulfill them with greater meaning. Since we do not understand all the reasons for the mitzvot we are unable to exempt ourselves from performing them.
We know that one of the reasons for wearing teffilin is because the parshiot written in them remind us of the exodus from Egypt. However there is also a gemara in brachot 14b saying that Hashem wears teffilin! Clearly Hashem does not need any reminder of the exodus, so there must be another, greater reason that we cannot fully understand in why one should wear tefillin.
Even if we know the reasons for the mitzvot (which we don’t) we still do not know the value and reward for the mitzvot, as it says in pirkei avot 2,1: “Be as scrupulous in performing a minor mitzvah as in a major one, for you do not know the reward given for the respective mitzvah.” In parshat Emor Hashem lists all of the festivals to Moshe, however he starts off by talking about Shabbat. Why does Hashem talk about Shabbat when he is trying to tell us how and when we have to celebrate the different festivals? He wants to teach that anyone who desecrates the festivals is regarded as if he had desecrated the Sabbath. How is this possible if the penalty for violating Shabbat is much greater then the punishment for violating the festivals? It comes to teach us that the heavenly court views them with equal gravity (nachalat yaacov). Furthermore B’nei Yisrael were at the highest level when they said na’aseh venishma (we will do and we will listen). So why are we lowering ourselves by trying to understand the mitzvot? Hashem gave them to us – shouldn’t that be enough of a reason to fulfill them?
In parshat Yitro it says; vayichan sham yisrael neged hahar (and Israel encamped there, opposite the mountain, Shemot 19:2). Rashi is bothered by the fact that the verb vayichan (encamped) is in the singular, in contrast to the previous verbs, which are in the plural. The reason for this grammatical change is because the only way Hashem could give the Torah to the Jewish people was when they were united. In order for us to receive the redemption we must all be yearning equally, so to in order for us to receive the Torah we must all want the Torah equally. The Torah was only given to the Jewish people because they were like ish echad b’lev echad (a single person with a single heart). Not only were the Jewish people united at Matan Torah (the giving of the Torah), they also unanimously accepted the whole Torah in its entirety. Therefore they must keep the whole Torah and not pick and choose which mitzvot they want to accept and which they don’t.
In masechet Shabbat 88a it says shekafah aleyhem hahar kagigit, that Hashem lifted the mountain over the Jewish people like a washtub, forcing them to accept the Torah. The Maharal understands that the reason that Hashem lifted the mountain over their heads was because he wanted to make his presence shown. He wanted us to understand that he is God and that he is the one telling us what we should be doing, and that it was not for us to decide what we should not be doing. It is simply not our choice. Hashem gave us the Torah out of love and for our own good, and we graciously accepted it. Now all we have to do is go ahead and live it.