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Who needs the carrot?

Thursday, 28 October, 2021 - 4:35 pm

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Pirke Avot (2).png

 

The other day, I saw a sign for a lost dog. It said that whoever found it and returned it would receive a reward. I wondered: Returning lost property is the right thing to do, why do we need the promise of reward?

This week in Israel was dedicated to road safety. Respecting the speed limit, wait for the green light and wear seats belts. These are all regulations that protect our lives. Then, why do we need to be threatened with a fine in case we disobey them?

When I asked my class (I teach 8th grade in Israel) why do we observe the Mitzvot, one student answered that we need to do it, otherwise we will get punished. Numerous people observe the Mitzvot for this reason: to receive the reward and not get the punishment. Indeed, our actions have consequences, and it is true that there is reward and punishment. But keeping the Mitzvot for this reason is a beginners’ level.

Antignos of Socho received the tradition from Shimon the Righteous. He would say: Do not be as slaves, who serve their master for the sake of reward. Rather, be as slaves who serve their master not for the sake of reward. And the fear of Heaven should be upon you. (Ethics of our Fathers, 1:3)

The ideal way to do the right thing is to do it because it’s right. Because we love G-d and want to fulfill His will. Because we love Him and we do not want anything to disrupt our relationship.

Let us do something extra this week, not for the reward that we will receive, but because it is the right thing to do.

Good luck to us!

Hanna

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