Andrew Sullivan’s ‘Mitzvah’ Problem

Gay-Catholic-conservative blogger Andrew Sullivan has many spheres of writerly expertise. Jewish religious terminology isn’t one of them.

In a recent post on his blog, Sullivan discussed his marriage. “To watch someone you love blossom and grow and mature and thrive is what my Jewish friends call a mitzvah,” Sullivan wrote.

This prompted a reader to write in:

To which Sullivan replied, still misusing the word “mitzvah”:

A “mitzvah,” of course, is Hebrew for a Divine commandment, not “blessing” (though, a religious reader might note, we Jews are blessed to have commandments — all 613 of them!). The word is used colloquially to mean “a good deed.”

Credit where credit is due, though: In his original post, Sullivan did use the words “mazel tov” perfectly.

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Andrew Sullivan’s ‘Mitzvah’ Problem

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