The opening section of the Torah portion Chukas describes the purification ritual of the Parah Adumah , the Red Heifer, one of the foremost suprarational commandments — Chukim — of the Torah.

At the beginning of the portion, the verse says:1 “This [the laws of the of Parah Adumah] is the chukah of the Torah….” Our Sages ask:2 Would it not have been more appropriate for the Torah to state “This is the chukah ‘of the Parah Adumah ,’ ” rather than “of the Torah ”?

They answer3 that the verse’s terminology indicates that the suprarational decree of Parah Adumah is indeed “the Torah” — it is a foundation and chukah for the entire Torah, in that all mitzvos are to be viewed as Chukim.

This is so because all mitzvos are in essence G‑d’s Will, and as such transcend human logic; even mitzvos that are logical are manifestations of Divine Will that have been drawn down and clothed in reason.

This is why all commandments, including the eminently logical, are to be performed not out of any rational imperative but simply because G‑d has decreed them. This is reflected in the text of the blessing made for all mitzvos , “…and He has commanded us.”

Thus, by stating “This is the chukah of the Torah …,” the verse is informing us that although mitzvos are generally divided into rational and suprarational commandments, the essential component of all mitzvos is suprarational in nature.

The above enables us to understand the advice of the Mishnah in Avos :4 “Be as careful in [the performance of] a minor mitzvah as of a major one….”

A person may well ask: How is it possible to perform “a minor Rabbinic regulation,” as scrupulously as the most major of commandments? Especially so, when the Torah itself — the “Torah of Truth ” — classifies one commandment as major and the other as minor.

According to the above, however, the answer is clear: With regard to the logical aspect of mitzvos , there do indeed exist differences in commandments — rational and suprarational, major and minor, etc. However, with regard to the essence of the mitzvos , they are all expressions of the Divine Will; no differences exist. They are all suprarational, all major.

Just as this is so with regard to the mitzvos themselves, so too regarding the effect they have on the person who performs them.5 Fulfilling any of these expressions of Divine Will — no matter how seemingly minor — utterly unites the individual with G‑d; going against any expression of Divine will — no matter how seemingly minor the infraction — has a major detrimental effect on the person’s attachment to Him.

What enables the Jew to feel that the observance of even a seemingly minor commandment has an effect on his overall connection with G‑d?

It derives from the essence of the Jew’s soul, an essence that itself wholly transcends logic.6 This finds expression in the famous saying:7 “A Jew neither desires nor is able to be separated from G‑dliness.”8

Understandably, it is almost impossible to expect that the unity felt by the essence of a person’s soul be consciously perceived throughout the year. Nevertheless, when this feeling is roused during special times of the year, it leaves an impression on the person’s ongoing level of rational spiritual service, so that the person is able to be aware of the positive or negative import of his every action.

There is a lesson here with regard to one’s efforts in helping a fellow-Jew: It is not enough to merely help one’s fellow perform the “major” mitzvos ; one must realize that all mitzvos are major, and the performance of even a seemingly “minor” one can carry a person to the greatest heights.

Based on Likkutei Sichos Vol. XIII, pp. 67-70.