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It's All In Our Attitude

By: Rabbi Yitzchak Lerner

This week’s Parshah contains the famous pasuk (verse) of “Na’aseh ve-nishma” – “We will do and we will hear [Hashem’s commands].” On the surface, it seems like a beautiful idea: “G-d, whatever You want from us, we will do it, no questions asked!! Then we will start to learn. But our main point is that whatever You want – we are one hundred percent loyal servants!”

The obvious question: How can this really work? If I don’t have the nishma, i.e., the learning, how can I do the naaseh? G-d commands us about Tefillin, for example; great, but how can I now carry out the mitzvah of Tefillin properly without learning Hilchot Tefillin? In practice, won’t we really need to have the nishma before the naaseh?

I once heard a nice peshat from a chassidishe guy to whom I gave a ride. He told me that the reason na’aseh comes first is to tell us that your “nishma,” i.e., learning, depends on your “na’aseh.” If you are a person whose sole goal is to do retzon Hashem (G-d’s will), if your only desire is to become closer to G-d, then when you sit down to do nishma, learning, it will be the sweetest thing in the world for you. On the other hand, if you are a person who is not so interested in mitzvot, or if you look at mitzvot as a heavy yoke around your neck, then for you, the nishma, the learning, will be very hard, if not sour.

The message is that our love for learning Torah is all in our attitude. Every night in Ma’ariv, we say the following line: “Ki hem chayyeinu," that the mitzvot are “our life.” If we truly believe this, then our nishma will always be sweetest thing in the world for us.

Good Shabbos,

R. Yitz Lerner








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