This week’s parasha is the first to contain a comprehensive list of mitzvot.  The previous parshiyot, portions, have been mainly narrative, with an occasional mitzvah or moral lesson woven into the fabric of the story.  In her book Studies in the Book of Exodus, Nechama Leibowitz asks why is the Jewish way of life made up of so many positive and negative mitzvot?  To answer the question Nechama Leibowitz quotes the author of Sefer HaHinuch, a book that lists the six hundred and thirteen mitzvot in order of their occurrence in the Torah.  “…Know that man is influenced by his actions and his intellectual and emotional life is conditioned by the things he does, good or bad.”  According to the author of Sefer HaHinuch, it is actions that shape character.  Mitzvot are designed for every age group, every point in life, at all times and all places.  The spiritual impact of mitzvot was meant to be irresistible and all encompassing, constantly enabling us to do good and therefore be good.   We just have to open ourselves up and allow mitzvot to be a part of our daily lives.