One Mitzvah that we have which is supposed to be totally impossible to perform by one’s self is the Brit. Because we’re supposed to be only eight days old when circumsized!
Even Abraham our forefather, according to Midrash, had divine help in performing this painful Mitzvah, as it is hardly imaginable even for an adult to perform it by himself.
But done properly, i.e. not later than 8 days after birth, this should be done to one’s self – by others.
What does that signify?
I think we dive deep here, into the realm of the question of free choice.
Basically, Mitzvot are founded on free choice. We are tried and tested in this world whether we obey, through our free will, the commandments of the Torah; even though the commander is invisible, inaudible, and intangible to our senses. And through performing the Mitzvot we become Betzavta, בצוותא, with Him, we come closer to Him.
But the basic connection of a Jew with HaShem, is rooted deeper even than that. It is a connection which is beyond the choices a Jew makes in his life, a core which no sin or wrong choice could corrupt. Something which is really – beyond the Mitzvot themselves.
A Mitzvah beyond Mitzvot
Something which has to do with saying that “a Jew, even though he had sinned – is still a Jew”.
Performing Mitzvot only helps to strengthen that link, but whether he likes it or not, a Jew is connected to HaShem.
That’s why Judaism has always fought for keeping this Mitzvah, and that every Jew, as remote he may be from Judaism, never failed to circumsize his sons.
With that we may also have a new insight into the Midrash that when David Hamelech was bathing one day, he became afraid that he is now naked without any Mitzvot. Seeing the sign of his Brit, he was so relieved, that he wrote in Ruach Hakodesh one of the Psalms – למנצח על השמינית (Psalms cap. 6) – praising HaShem for giving us this Mitzvah.
Being naked always symbolizes being devoid of Mitzvot – and the Brit is a “built-in” Mitzvah which is there even if other Mitzvot are still missing.
If I may be so bold, perhaps I’m not wrong in saying that even if a Jew is as yet uncircumcised, still that link is always there! Because Circumcision is, after all, a Mitzvah too, and there is beyond that…
But as the meaning of the Mitzvah, is so very important, being a symbol of the essence of what it is to be a Jew, it becomes a grave Aveyra, a sin, failing to perform it.
Being a Jew is based on something which is beyond free choice.