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Should I do a Mitzvah today if I'm unable to make a steady commitment?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg

  

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This question can be addressed from many different angles. Here are a few morsels of food for thought:

1) On the most basic level, good habits are addictive; chances are that once you start you wouldn't stop!

2) An important idea to remember is that observing mitzvahs is not only about spiritual advancement and refinement. Primarily, we do mitzvahs because G-d commanded us to do so. From this viewpoint, it is quite irrelevant whether a Mitzvah which was performed will have a lasting effect on the individual. Most importantly, the will of G-d was performed, and from this G-d receives infinite pleasure, regardless of whether the person will observe the mitzvah tomorrow.

Most importantly, the will of G-d was performed, and from this G-d receives infinite pleasure, regardless of whether the person will observe the mitzvah tomorrow
To better understand this concept, let us use the analogy of charity. Imagine one who gives charity every day for one week, but then never again gives a cent to the needy. While it seems obvious that the person wasn't positively affected by the good deeds which he performed, there is no doubt that the poor people who benefited from his kindness that week are overjoyed with the money they received during that period!

3) Additionally, according to the teachings of Chassidut, a mitzvah which is performed is actually eternal. The word mitzvah is closely related to the Aramaic word "tzavta," which means connection. A mitzvah establishes an incredible bond between the soul of the one who performed it and the commander of the mitzvah -- G-d Al-mighty. Since G-d transcends the limitation of time, hence this unity is also timeless and indestructible.

4) Maimonides writes:1 "A person should always view himself as being half meritorious and half guilty [of sins]. Similarly, [one should view] the entire world -- half meritorious and half guilty... If he does one mitzvah, he [has the potential to favorably] tip the scales of himself and the entire world, and he brings for himself and all the world salvation and deliverance!"

In summation: Never underestimate the worth and importance of a single mitzvah!

Footnotes

  • 1. Laws of Repentance 3:4.

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RELATED CATEGORIES

Mitzvot » Should I do them?
Mitzvot » Prayer » I'd love to pray, but...

Mitzvah
(pl. Mitzvot). A commandment from G-d. Mitzvah also means a connection, for a Jew connects with G–d through fulfilling His commandments.
Maimonides
Moses son of Maimon, born in Spain in 1135, died in Egypt in 1204. Noted philosopher and authority on Jewish law. Also was an accomplished physician and was the personal doctor for members of the Egyptian royalty. Interred in Tiberius, Israel.
Chassidut
The teachings of the Chassidic masters. Chassidut takes mystical concepts such as G-d, the soul, and Torah, and makes them understandable, applicable and practical.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.