Meaning To Do It


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 feel like starting 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. Great question! Your question shows your great desire to do the right thing, and also the possibility of being “uncomfortable” if you eat with others and say the blessings after eating while your friends or family waits for you, possibly wondering why you’re doing this if you’re not keeping other Jewish practices. Your question demonstrates both sensitivity and bravery.

    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 doing it even for not the “right reason” brings to doing it for the “right reason” (eventually and likely). 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’s important to recognize 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 shalt 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 mitzvot by the Jewish People at Mount Sinai was with the condition of “na’aseh v’nishma,” (“We will do and we will understand”), meaning that we will do even before we understand.

    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 Commander will create a greater satisfaction and fulfillment whenever a mitzvah is performed.

    Best wishes from the Team