Tuesday, May 24, 2016

510 - Bo

Many people, says Rav Wolbe (Shiurei Chumash, Bo 12:6), feel that mitzvos performed without the accompaniment of feelings of spiritual loftiness are almost insignificant. People love to learn the reasons behind the mitzvos because a rational explanation for the commandments satisfies their intellectual hunger. This knowledge gives their actions purpose and leaves them with a good feeling. However, no matter how sensible the reasons offered for the performance of the mitzvos might be, they cannot be the ultimate motive for one's fulfillment of Hashem's commandments.

We perform the mitzvos because we are servants of Hashem and therefore must heed His commandments whether we understand them or not. Yet, mitzvos performed with attention to detail, even if they lack any spiritual sensation, have the ability to completely transform a person for the better. Every mitzvah makes an indelible impression which, when accumulated, change a person in a way he could have never imagined.

The converse is also true. Even if a person feels no spiritual regression when wearing shatnez, Chazal (cited in the Siddur HaGra) tell us that wearing shatnez hinders one's ability to concentrate on his prayers. Indeed, even without being cognizant of the power of both mitzvos and aveiros, they wield a strong influence upon a person.

Rashi in this week's parsha (Shemos 12:6) tells us that the time was ripe for Bnei Yisrael to be redeemed from bondage but they had no spiritual acquisitions to warrant their redemption. Hence, Hashem gave them the opportunity to perform two mitzvos: bris milah and korban Pesach. The Pesach offering involved many details including examining it for four days prior to the slaughtering, eating it roasted and in a hurried manner while taking care not to break any of its bones.

The bris milah, as explained by the Maharal, is the mitzvah which symbolizes the Jew's servitude to his Creator. His flesh is branded with the mark of his Creator. Meticulousness regarding all the details of the mitzvah coupled with this symbol on their bodies primed them for the redemption. The purpose of both these mitzvos was to enable Bnei Yisrael to demonstrate their complete subservience to Hashem.

The importance of learning halacha and obtaining clarity with regard to the details of each mitzvah is something which cannot be ignored. The proper performance of mitzvos is the key to attaining the perfection for which we all strive. Reviewing hilchos Shabbos at the Shabbos table will not only enhance one's seudos Shabbos, it will enhance his relationship with the Creator.

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