Finding Meaning


Hi, I was wondering if I do a mitzvah without fully believing in God, does it mean anything? Or is it meaningless, or maybe even hypocrisy? I am considering beginning to say the “Grace after Meals” blessings in Hebrew or English, but I’m not sure if it’s worthwhile since I don’t observe and believe everything at the moment. Thanks



  1. Your question shows your sincere desire to do the right thing.

    My answer to you is, “Go for it!” Judaism teaches that a person should do a mitzvah even if it’s not for the “right reason,” since there is an inexplicable “something” in doing a mitzvah, which will help bring a person to do a mitzvah for the “right reason.” The only exception to this rule is if a person does a mitzvah for a “negative reason,” such as learning Torah in order to try to prove that it’s wrong.

    It is also important to realize that there are many, many levels of belief. Often, even a very “low” level can produce a lot of benefit and make mitzvah observance very worthwhile.

    In addition, in terms of negative commandments — “Thou shall nots” — a person who refrains from doing one or more of them is doing something “positive” (by not doing something “negative”), which is certainly meaningful and prevents possible “negative consequences.”

    If you have even a “basic” belief in God, but lack understanding for the need to do a particular mitzvah, then doing the mitzvah (with trust in God that it is the right thing to do) is performance on a high level. Why? The very acceptance of mitzvahs by the Jewish People at Mount Sinai was with the condition of “na’aseh v’nishma,” — “We will do and we will understand.” This means that the Jewish People accepted upon ourselves that we will do what Judaism teaches even before we really understand its reason.

    True, a person should try to understand all aspects of Judaism. And, certainly, a better understanding of the background and fullness of the mitzvah and its Giver will provide greater satisfaction and fulfillment whenever a mitzvah is performed.

    Best wishes from the Team