Around the Shabbos Table – Beha’alotecha (Mussar)

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Our Sages tell us that as long as we are in this physical existence it’s impossible for a person to imagine the splendor of Gan Eden. Although, this is true, wouldn’t it be wonderful if there were a conceptual image to give us a glimpse of the inestimable quantum of reward?

After Moshe instructed Aaron to light the menorah, the Torah writes: “And Aaron did as Hashem commanded Moshe” (Bamidbar 8:20). This verse extols the praise of Aaron – that he did not deviate from the instructions that Moshe gave him (Rashi).

Given that the lighting of the menorah was not particularly challenging, nor did it entail any monetary expenditure on the part of Aaron – this verse needs clarification. What is the significance of the Torah praising Aaron for performing the relatively easy act that Hashem commanded him to do? Would we think that Aaron, the Cohen Gadol, would do anything else other than meticulously fulfill the Divine Will?

Every day of his life, Aaron HaCohen immersed himself in Torah, Mitzvoth, and character perfection until his entire being was sanctified to Hashem. We might have assumed that for a man of Aaron’s stature, following simple orders would not earn him much credit. This verse reveals just the opposite: Hashem praised, valued, and rewarded Aaron greatly, even for this seemingly relatively minor effort of not deviating from the specifications of the commandment.

We can understand from here, how great, then, is the reward for the performance of a Mitzvah that does require an expenditure of money or toil. The magnitude of reward increases exponentially with the level of difficulty required to perform the Mitzvah. If even the most infinitesimal quantum of difficulty amplifies the rewards – then – how much more so, does an intense effort yield an incalculable abundance of reward.

Now that Hashem has revealed His formula of reward, we can apply this quantum of reward distribution to each and every Mitzvah that we do – from the easiest to the most difficult. The Mitzvos that we perform guarantee us a glorious, unending, and eternal reward. (based on the Ohr RaShaz, of Rabbi Simcha Zissel)

Today: Realize that the reward for reading this short essay is worth more than all the riches of this world.

Copyright © 2010 by Rabbi Zvi Miller and the Salant Foundation

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