Beautify (Hiddur) Mitzvah
Beautify (Hiddur) Mitzvah

Hiddur Mitzvah, literally meaning, “the beautification of a mitzvah,” are actions that glorify, or beautify, the observances and celebrations within Jewish tradition, in particular Shabbat and the holidays. The source text for this mitzvah is found in Exodus 15:2, which states: “This is my God and I will glorify Him.” In other words, this value challenges us to think about not simply following a mitzvah, but doing so with intentionality, purposefulness, and thoughtfulness. As such, rabbinic sources have provided instructions for Jews to effectively execute a practice and fulfill a commandment. There are specific ways in which we should light Shabbat candles, or how we should place the chanukiah on our window sill, or how we should construct a sukkah for Sukkot. These instructions exist not to restrict our observance, but to enhance its meaning and glorify our relationship with G-d. In a modern context, while many of our observances and celebrations have been modified for the purposes of meaningfulness, the changes implemented still embody the value of hiddur mitzvah: glorifying a mitzvah as a demonstration of our commitment to G-d.

Questions for Reflection

1. Think about a ritual that you do with your family. What do you do? How do you do it? What can you do to make it as meaningful and as impactful an experience as possible?
2. How does the value of hiddur mitzvah help us enhance our relationship with Judaism and/or G-d?
3. How can you incorporate the value of hiddur mitzvah in your classroom?