Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

The Path of the Just

Chapter 19 (Part 6)

The pious wouldn't only express their reverence for G-d by being humble, and standing in awe and love in His presence; they’d revere Him by the quality of the things they'd use to fulfill His mitzvahs as well. As such, they’d only use a well-made pair of tephillin in prayer and a striking etrog and lulav on Sukkot, they’d always have a lush Shabbat meal prepared, and the like. And while that's expected of all of us in fact, the pious would be sure to go to greater lengths to do it.

Now, some might raise the point that there seems to be no reason in the world why G-d would demand that; and that only we mere "humans, who are seduced by such vanity" would need to have our favors curried with fine accoutrements, "not G-d “who doesn't care for such things, … and (is) transcendent of them". After all, they'd argue, wouldn’t "it be enough for Him that the mitzvah was done faithfully?" however simply.

But they'd be wrong, as G-d’s own Torah in fact lays a lot of stress on fulfilling mitzvahs attractively. As Ramchal words it, in fact "we're obliged to honor G-d even though He doesn't need to be, and even though our acts of honor aren't of any great importance or consequence to Him" at bottom.

Indeed, that's just what the prophet Malachi was referring to when he said, "If you were to offer blind (animals) for sacrifice (for example), would that not be wrong? And if you were to offer a lame or sick animal, would that not be wrong? Offer (something like) that now to your governor (i.e., to any high official, and what would you suspect?). Would he be pleased with you or show you favor?" (Malachi 1:8). Of course not, is the implication, so why would you do that to G-d? It would behoove us all to use the finest things in our worship of Him.

(The truth of the matter is that we actually need to worship G-d with beautiful things, given human nature. As we're impressed by appearances and lend a lot of weight to them, so we'd come to assume that G-d was unworthy of our honor if we weren't expected serve Him honorably.)

Ramchal offers this model from the Torah, "the processional for the offering of the season's first fruits (Bikkurim) in the Holy Temple exemplified (the idea of) beautifying mitzvahs" (see Deuteronomy 26:1-11). We're taught that "an ox would proceed (those making the offering) with horns overlaid with gold and with a crown of olive branches..." (Bikkurim 3:3), and that "the wealthy would bring their offerings in golden baskets" (Bikkurim 3:8). And so the pious have always followed that standard.


 

Text Copyright © 2010 by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman and Torah.org

Rabbi Feldman's new book, Bachya Ibn Pakuda's The Duties of the Heart, is now available! Order Now


 






ARTICLES ON LECH LECHA:

View Complete List

The Moral of the Story
Shlomo Katz - 5768

The Dawn of a New Era
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5759

The chessed of Avraham
Shlomo Katz - 5773

> Worthy of the Brocha!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5770

Of Threads and Shoelaces
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5770

You Shall Live by Them
Shlomo Katz - 5758

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Avraham's Strange Reaction
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5762

Big Potential
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5764

Hey, Hey, Hey!
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5767

ArtScroll

Environmental Hazard
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5771

Wake-Up Call
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5759

Don't Walk in Front of Me (Anymore)
Shlomo Katz - 5763

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

The Founders of Our People
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5772

The Unique Level of Avraham
Rabbi Yosef Kalatsky - 5763

The Kindness Factor
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5769

Bless You!
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5766



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information