The basis of observance of all the commandments of the Torah is that they are given by G‑d for the benefit of mankind. For every mitzvah, there is a benefit and a reason. In some instances, the reason and the benefit seem readily discernible, while others are beyond mortal understanding.

Three Categories of Torah Commandments

In Judaism, there are three types of commandments: Mishpatim, eidut, and chukim. The mishpatim are completely logical edicts that facilitate a stable society. These basic rules include warnings against theft, murder, or engaging in promiscuity. Because of the blatant obviousness of these laws, humanity would be inclined toward many of them even if the Torah was not given.1

The second category, eidut, is testimonies from events in the collective Jewish historical experience, for instance, eating matzah on Pesach. Although nobody would at random would come up with these deeds, there commemorative value rings true enough with the rational mind to accept their observance.

The final sort, the chukim, are super-rational commands. These are the decrees that transcend human logic. The Jewish person is to adhere to their observance simply because of divine instruction, without being privy at all to their reason or benefit. 2

More generally, the commandments of the Torah can be broken up into two categories: logical and supra-logical - those that transcend logic. In Jewish tradition, the kosher laws are classified as super-rational.3 Were it merely a health guide, it would not be categorized as such. Moreover, if keeping kosher was purely for physical health benefits, G‑d would certainly have included them in his instructions for humanity at large, and not just the Jewish nation, as G‑d cares about the wellbeing of all of His creatures.4

Some find observance of super-rational commandments more challenging, as their moral or symbolic meanings are not outwardly evident. However, when dealing with the Torah, which is Divine instructions, the real surprise should be that the human mind is able to comprehend anything, not amazement when it cannot. After all, one is dealing with the will and wisdom of G‑d. G‑d becomes extremely limited if His wisdom does not exceed human understanding. Worshipping a G‑d that one cannot completely understand seems better than a god who he can fully understand.

G‑d gives different types of commandments to human beings in order that they connect with Him in a variety of ways, sometimes in a rational way and sometime in a way that is transcendent of logic. Although the reasons for the commandments have been explored all over Jewish literature 5 in their essence, all commandments of the Torah are meant to be followed earnestly because they are divine instructions.6