Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Do It To Do It

A number of years ago I heard Rabbi Mordechai Becher speak. He was explaining that while we know the reasons for some of the commandments, the reasons themselves should not be the motivation for fulfilling the mitzvah. 
"We aren't supposed to eat the gid ha'nasheh, right?" he said. "Why? Because Yaakov Avinu wrestled with the malach and his sciatic nerve was damaged. But that is not the reason why I don't the gid ha'nasheh. I don't eat the gid ha'nasheh because Hashem said not to eat the gid ha'nasheh." 

I thought of this shiur when I read the article "The Secret to Effective Motivation" by 

Our study suggests that efforts should be made to structure activities so that instrumental consequences do not become motives. Helping people focus on the meaning and impact of their work, rather than on, say, the financial returns it will bring, may be the best way to improve not only the quality of their work but also — counterintuitive though it may seem — their financial success.



Daniel Saunders said...

It's nice to see someone else who focuses on the deed not the reward. Sometimes online Orthodox discussion makes me worry too many people are focused on what G-d can do for them and not what they can do for G-d. All these stories of "I did mitzvah X and suddenly I got married/got a new job/had a baby/etc." I can see why the kiruv organisations in particular take this approach, but I don't like it.

Princess Lea said...

It troubles me because there is this assumption that Hashem needs us to do mitzvos. Hashem doesn't need us to do anything. Additionally, it's not a quid pro quo relationship we have with the Supreme Being, that we do something and He HAS to give us something in return.

It's the basic conundrum: Why do bad things happen to good people? Because being good is not about getting good. It's about doing what has to be done.

chaya said...

I just read three different posts from you I enjoyed each one, all for different reasons. That should tell you, there has to be talent present.

This one particularly struck a chord, not about "reward" as a positive but about the times, we get a bracha, we do not want and may not call a bracha. .....when we are challenged beyond the strength we believe we have. We don't say, why is HaShem punishing us....at least, we shouldn't be saying that.
I know what I say, "Everything G-d gives us, we can handle," and I keep saying this to get through it, how ever long this takes.

Princess Lea said...

I wanted to say I love your recipes! I was frantic to find a good cabbage kugel recipe yesterday, and your post came up. Then I spent the rest of my day scrolling through all the deliciousness!

I'm a grandchild of survivors, and I am amazed how many times I have to remind myself of that same thing. My grandparents, who did everything right, what was the Holocaust about for them? And then me, with my first-world problems, remember how they viewed their relationship with Hashem, and just kept on going, not seeing it as punishment, but that it was for a reasons, albeit unknown.