Noah had begotten three sons: Shem, Cham, and Yafes. (Genesis 6:10)

It has been said that the names of Noah’s three sons – Shem, Cham, and Yafes – allude to the three elements that must be included in each mitzvah (commandment) if it is to be performed optimally.

The word “Shem” means ‘name’ in Hebrew, and in Torah thought “Shem” alludes to the essence of something.  This hints to the idea that every mitzvah must be performed according to all of its Halachic requirements, which is what comprises the essence of a mitzvah.

“Cham” means ‘hot,’ and instructs us that every mitzvah must be performed with passion and zeal. 

The word “Yafes” means ‘beauty’ and speaks to the concept of Hiddur Mitzvah -- that each and every mitzvah must be performed as beautifully as possible.    

In order to serve G-d properly, it is vital that we attempt to incorporate all three elements into our deeds.

While all service of our Creator is deemed precious by Him, what is considered most meaningful is deliberate, thoughtful, passion-fused observance that also punctiliously fulfills the requirements of Jewish Law.

Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Bregman is an internationally recognized Torah scholar, #1 best-selling author, matchmaker, entrepreneur, attorney, and media personality. His energetic and empowering messages currently reach over 350,000 people per week via social media, NYC radio, and newspaper columns worldwide. His website is and his email is

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