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I've heard several times in the past (without sources) that it is a big problem for a Jewish man to not wear tzitzis during the day, but why? Isn't it just that we are rewarded for doing it? Does this apply to all mitzvahs? If so, how can we function without driving ourselves mad by constantly having to do mitzvahs that we have the opportunity to do?

EDIT: Another example to clarify. I walked past a blood drive yesterday and felt bad for not giving blood, because it could save someone's life and therefore be Pikuach Nefesh. I think it would have been a mitzva had I done that, but does that mean I was obligated to? I think this is perhaps a better example because it is not clearly obligatory, but it is quite a significant thing, being (sofek) Pikuach Nefesh? (and even sofek Pikuach Nefesh is enough for us to break Shabbos)

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  • possible duplicate judaism.stackexchange.com/q/12366/759
    – Double AA
    Oct 2, 2022 at 13:08
  • If you are commanded to file your taxes, doesn't that mean you have to do it? I'm not sure what you're finding confusing about the general case of "commandment"
    – Double AA
    Oct 2, 2022 at 13:09
  • @DoubleAA So you are saying we're expected to do every positive mitzvah that we have an opportunity to do? Oct 2, 2022 at 13:48
  • Is your question about tzitzis specifically or about all positive mitvzvos? I ask because morning and being a male happens to you wether you like it or not, and so you are obligated in various mitzvos. Whereas tzitzis is stated as, if your wearing a 4 cornered garment then add tzitzis. Not necessarily implying you must wear a 4 cornered garment.
    – mroll
    Oct 2, 2022 at 14:15
  • Sorry, tzitzis is just an example Oct 2, 2022 at 15:55

1 Answer 1

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This is an excellent topic and question. You have partially given us an answer by acknowledging, in your first sentence, that you do not have a source for this being a problem.

Within Orthodox communities, and communities in general, there is pressure to adhere to a status norm. This can be healthy (or unhealthy) depending on the delivery, tone, circumstances, and the individual.

It is a big problem for a Jewish man not to wear tzitzit in the same sense that it is a big problem for a Jewish man not to keep the Torah and all of its written and oral laws.

The reason for this is a huge series of rewards and punishments - but to go into those details somewhat circumvents the main point. Which is this: G-d gave us the Torah as an instruction manual on how to live life. Thank G-d that we have this guide and the opportunity to live an extremely moral and meaningful existence based on the Torah's teachings.

If someone were to give you an incredible gift, and you were to not use that gift, or to let it sit in the closet, that person would be somewhat sad that you did not take advantage of what they have given you. This is an interesting analogy, but consider how much more significant the Torah is than any human gift. It is Divine. It is literally our source of life. When we decide between following the Torah and not, it it literally deciding between life and death, as stated in Deuteronomy 30:19

I have put before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life - and you and your offspring would live - by loving the Lord your God, heeding His commands, and holding fast to Him.

This is not to pressure you into following every set law. Everyone is constantly growing on their own path, at their own pace, over a very long period of time. We spend our entire lives studying the Torah, and more so.

We can function by understanding that G-d loves us and has put us into a specific point in time with unique skills. We are not here to perfect the world, but neither are we here to neglect it. May your journey be joyful and filled with blessings.

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