Mitzvot and the Path to Human Flourishing

By :  Yonatan Y. Brafman Former Assistant Professor of Jewish Thought and Ethics Posted On Dec 14, 2020 / 5780 | Living a Life of Meaning

Part of the series, Living a Life of Meaning

Download presentation

The medieval decisor and philosopher Moses Maimonides claimed that the mitzvot (commandments) are a divine law. By this, he meant not only that the mitzvot originate with God, but that they were a medium by which people could flourish both politically and personally—which for Maimonides meant the attainment of intellectual comprehension.  

This session explores the significance of Maimonides’ view and how two modern Jewish thinkers, Mordecai Kaplan and Eliezer Berkovits, built on Maimonides’ ideas to develop their own understandings of how observance of the mitzvot can advance human growth and the attainment of perfection.  

With Dr. Yonatan Brafman, Assistant Professor of Jewish Thought and Ethics; Director of the MA Program in Jewish Ethics, JTS.


The disruption to our normal life, and for many, close encounters with mortality, provides an opportunity to evaluate what is truly important in our lives. Guided by JTS faculty and fellows we discuss the role of values, ethics, and Torah in the quest for a well-lived life.

View All Sessions in the Series


At JTS, we are committed to providing the Jewish community with outstanding classes in Judaic studies. We hope you will partner with us so that we can continue to do so. Did you know that you can sponsor a learning session to honor a loved one, celebrate an occasion, or commemorate a yahrzeit? To learn more visit the Community Learning sponsorship page or email