Monday, May 6, 2013

48 Ways: #29 - Not anticipating reward


Pirkei Avot 6:5 teaches that Torah is acquired in 48 ways, which it lists for us. The twenty-ninth of the 48 is eino machazik tovah l'atzmo, not expecting reward for one's self.

It is natural for us to anticipate reward for good behavior; the Torah indeed promises it! However, on a practical level, one who works with a mindset of "I will be paid for this" is vulnerable to doubt and weakness when he does not perceive the reward.

Further, on a spiritual level, approaching the Divine message with reward in mind would cheapen the nature of our bond with our Creator. One who buys flowers or a gift for his/her spouse with reward in mind is hardly doing so selflessly, for the sake of the spouse. Instead, it is a selfish deed, performed with one's own gratification in mind. Thus damage is done not only to the effectiveness of, but also to the meaning of, the Torah study.

Have a great day,

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