Mitzvot for Practice

The second paragraph of Shema is found in this week's Parsha. Even though the third paragraph regarding Tzitzit appears earlier in the Torah in the fourth book of במדבר, Shema first begins with accepting the yoke of Heaven and then the warning against forsaking the commandments. Tzitzit were meant to be a reminder to follow the Torah. In that second paragraph on the words, ושמתם את דברי אלה, that one should place these words on his heart, Rashi brings the Midrash of the ספרי. It says that even after we are exiled, we should be excellent at the observance of Mitzvot. We should continue to wear Tefillin and place Mezuzot on our doors so that we will know what to do when we come back. The Midrash is saying that the Torah was meant to be observed in Eretz Yisrael and outside of Israel we are only commanded to observe so that we won't get out of practice. It's like leaving signs on a long hike so that you can retrace your steps to be sure you will find your way back. Shabbat Shalom