Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Quality or Quantity?

A Guest Post by Rafi G.

We learned in our daf yomi shiur yesterday about the "Kutim". Kutim were a group of people who basically converted to Judaism out of fear of being ripped apart by lions sent by God because of their idol worship in the Holy Land. "Kutim" is sometimes defined as "Samaritans", but I do not know if this is the same Samaritan group as the one we have today.

The Gemara debates whether Kutim can be trusted in Judaism as witnesses. Are they considered real converts or not? It seems they kept some mitzvos very pedantically, but other mitzvos they did not keep at all. The Gemara says that things they kept, they can also be relied upon and trusted for, while mitzvos they did not keep offer them no trust on those issues.

As we are wont to do in our Idaf yomi shiur, our discussion got off topic (only a bit this time). I asked whether it would be better for a person to keep some mitzvos well, very well, while letting others slip away unobserved, or would it be better for a person to keep all the mitzvos, or at least as many as possible, but doing so halfheatedly withut being careful and doing it well?

If a person has only so much energy, and can concentrate his efforts on only a certain amount of miztvos, would it be better to do so concentrating completely on a certain number of mitzvos, and ignoring the others, or should he not ignore the others, do them all - even when it comes at the expense of the quality?

So basically, is it quality or quantity in Judaism?

nobody had any very good answer during the discussion. We spoke about every person trying his best and working to improve. What do you think about the question?

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