Our discussion last week dealt with developing a spontaneous,
enthusiastic approach to service. Several people questioned the
relationship between the desire to serve, and the objective
responsibility to serve.
The truth is that the desire to serve, and the recognition of the
responsibility to serve, go hand-in-hand. The Shema states: "You shall
love Hashem with all your heart, soul and might." The Rabbis said,
"There is no comparison between the one who serves out of fear, and the
one who serves out of love..."
Shortly afterwards, the Torah commands, "You shall fear Him..." How is
it possible to both love and fear? The Rabbis comment, "Only in regard
to the qualities of Hashem do you find love and fear in the same
place..." Hashem (by way of analogy), embodies all positive
attributes. He, alone, knows the proper balance between affection and
Yet, we are to strive to emulate Hashem, and -- through the service --
it is possible to adhere in some degree to a combination of love and
concern. So we ask in the brochos to the Shema: "Unite our hearts to
love and fear your name..."
The point is that a true relationship entails a concern, lest one harm
the relationship, and a strong, positive binding force.
To serve through coercion, out of necessity, can be little more than
half-hearted. It is the zest, creativity and inspiration that
transforms mechanical motion into animated service.
Still, the service is something we must do. The great Chasidic leaders
and the Lithuanian Roshei Yeshivos stressed the importance of serving
every day, even when we don't feel inspired. It is precisely when we
don't feel like it, that the challenge takes on new dimensions...
The secret of inspiration is "chidush" -- to find something new.
"Today -- upon your heart," states the Shema. The Rabbis explained:
"Every day the words must seem new." Study, with an eye to finding
something new, breeds constant inspiration; today -- every day -- cause
the words to be newly inscribed upon your heart!