The Greatest Reward of All

August 6, 2017 at 2:16 AM , , ,

“…He will bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your soil, your grain, your wine, and your oil, the offspring of your cattle and the choice of your flocks…” – Devarim 7:13

וּבֵרַךְ פְּרִי בִטְנְךָ וּפְרִי אַדְמָתֶךָ דְּגָנְךָ וְתִירשְׁךָ וְיִצְהָרֶךָ שְׁגַר אֲלָפֶיךָ וְעַשְׁתְּרֹת צֹאנֶךָ – דברים ז, יג

A task’s value and significance is reflected in its reward. This raises the question: How could any reward in the world be adequate compensation for observing the mitzvos? The material prosperity promised by the Torah is certainly not commensurate with fulfilling G-d’s will and desire, an accomplishment infinitely more valuable than grain or cattle! Moreover, considering the statement of the Mishna (Avos 4:17), “A single moment of repentance and good deeds in this world is greater than the entire World to Come,” even the reward in the World to Come is not adequate compensation for observing the mitzvos

seven species

This question is answered by the Mishna (Avos 4:2), which states, “The reward of a mitzvah is a mitzvah;” meaning, the true reward for observing a mitzvah is the mitzvah itself—the opportunity to connect with G-d through the fulfillment of His will. This idea is further emphasized by the commentaries who interpret this Mishna as saying that the reward for observing one mitzvah is the observance of another. For the good fortune of connecting with G-d through additional mitzvos is the ultimate prize, greater than any physical or spiritual reward.

This idea is similarly echoed in the Torah’s promise of material prosperity and physical wellbeing if we observe the mitzvos. As the Rambam (Hilchos Teshuva 9:1) explains, “G-d promised in the Torah that if we fulfill it joyfully and happily…all the obstacles which prevent us from fulfilling it, such as sickness, war, or famine will be removed. He will grant us all the good that will reinforce our fulfillment of the Torah, such as satiety, peace, and abundance of silver and gold in order that we should not need to devote our days to physical needs, but will be free instead to study wisdom and perform mitzvos…” If we fulfill the mitzvos, G-d provides us with the material comforts that allow us to continue to observe the Torah with even greater comfort and ease, thereby granting us the greatest reward of all—mitzvah observance itself.

—Sefer Hasichos 5749, vol. 2, pp. 642-644


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