Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Humble Mountain. Shvuos.

The Midrash relates that when G-d wanted to reveal His holy Torah to the Jewish people, every mountain came before G-d and boasted of its perfection and beauty, yet it was precisely Mount Sinai - a small and unassuming mountain that refused to boast - that G-d chose to give the Torah on.

Neither the mountains' impressive height, prime location or other physical characteristics were taken into consideration. Not only did these features not convince G-d, as it were, to choose them, but their boasting had the opposite effect. For the Torah could only be given on a place where side issues were irrelevant; the Torah was revealed purely for its own sake.

The giving of the Torah on humble Mount Sinai contains a lesson for all of us in how we are to observe G-d's commandments. Personal considerations, motivations and/or rewards are not the real reason we perform mitzvot. Rather, a Jew fulfills the Torah's commandments solely because such is the will of G-d.

Observing mitzvot brings delight to the spirit, refines our character attributes, and purifies the soul, but the desire to obtain these personal benefits is not the Jew's genuine motivation.

Our motivation and intent in heeding G-d's word must be unadulterated by thoughts of personal gain or advantage. We serve Him solely for the sake of serving Him.

In fact, even if had G-d commanded us to perform actions which would not be rewarded, we would carry out His will with the same joy and vitality with which we observe the Torah commandments, solely because He wants us to!

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