I was talking to a few people this week about a scenario where a person can put on tallis and tefillin, daven three times that day with a minyan, do all the required mitzvos, say at least 100 brochos, and not think about Hashem once. Nobody blinked and on introspection most admitted that on a particularly distracted day – that person could be them. Why is that?
The reason is that in our chinuch, whether as FFBs or BTs, we are focused on doing the mitzvos, getting it done – but not on the reason why.
The Mesillas Yesharim sets us straight on this matter. He teaches that our purpose in life is to become more aware of Hashem, to get closer to Hashem, to deeply connect to Him, to make His presence a reality in our day to day lives. And we do that by performing mitzvos. Mitzvos are the means, not the ends.
We do so many mitzvos. What a shame it would be if they didn’t accomplish what they were meant for – which is connecting us deeper and deeper to Hashem.
Here are three daily opportunities to address this problem:
1) Before you say a Brocha with Asher Kid’shanu B’mitzvosuv (while washing your hands, putting on Tallis and Tefillin, etc.) think about the fact that you are performing this mitzvah because Hashem commanded you.
2) Before you daven Shemoneh Esrai, think about the fact that you are about to praise Hashem, make requests of Hashem, and thank Hashem for His daily kindness.
3) Before you say Hashem’s name in any brocha, but especially in Shema, think about the fact that Hashem is your master and the source of all existence – and particularly your existence.
Every mitzvah is an opportunity to connect to Hashem – why not use them as intended.