It’s one thing to eagerly set out to do a mitzvah that comes your way, but
it’s quite another to actually do it, then complete it. For, pity the poor
human spirit: it so easily grows weary and so quickly comes to be bored,
disillusioned, or distracted.
Who among us hasn’t set out to help someone move across town, for example,
and then quickly come to be overwhelmed or overwrought by all the actual
work involved? Who hasn’t meant to give more tzadakah (i.e., charity) then
been stopped in his tracks by the thought of actually paying out the
money? But there’s the rub. Because being kind and charitable literally
means leaving your self and your own, and doing favors or giving money.
And doing it in the spirit of “enthusiasm”, the subject at hand, means
doing it “not … because you’re anxious to unburden yourself of it,” as
Ramchal term s it, “but because you’re afraid that you might not merit
completing it” -- that is, you’re beside yourself with the idea that you
might get there too late or not do it till its end, while some luckier
soul might, and you would have lost an excellent and lovely moment of
As we’re taught, “all of the actions of the righteous are done hurriedly”,
i.e., they set out to do good excitedly, energetically, and with sparkling
eyes. “They wouldn’t allow a moment's delay either in the starting or
completing of a mitzvah" (Bamidbar Rabbah 10:5)
As Ramchal sums it up, “The person whose spirit is aflame in the service
of his Creator will certainly not be lackadaisical when doing mitzvahs.
His movements would be as quick as fire, for he could not be at rest or
still until he would have absolutely completed the task.”