Observing the Mitzvot With a Full Heart


Devarim 26:16 states: "Hayom hazeh Hashem Elokecha mitzavcha la'asot et hachukim ha'eleh v'et hamishpatim v'shamarta v'asita otam bechol levavcha u'vchol nafshecha", "This very day, Hashem your God commands you to perform these statutes and these laws; you shall observe and perform them wholeheartedly and with your whole being".

On the words "Hayom Hazeh", Rashi quoting the midrash in Tanchuma comments, "Each day let the mitzvoth appear novel to you, as if, on that very day, you had been commanded to perform them".

It is not an easy task and takes a conscious effort to put kavana, intent, into every mitzvah that we perform.

Take the example of prayer. When you are saying the same prayers three times a day, prayer can become rote and the meaning can be lost. According to Rabbi Yochanan, the phrase in the pasuk "bechol levavcha", "with all of your heart" warns us that when we are praying before God, we should not have two hearts, one focused on God and one focused on other matters. Rather, we should perform the mitzvoth wholeheartedly- with a full heart, body and soul.

We must find ways to make prayer more meaningful and inspirational each time that we pray. One way to do this is by inserting our own private prayers into the Amidah/ Shmoneh Esrei. According to the Shulchan Aruch 119:1 we have the right to add to any of the middle brachot of the Shmoneh Esrei as long as the addition pertains to the Bracha. For example: During Rifaenu, we can add the names of those who need tobe healed. During Birkat HaShanim we can pray for a livelihood. During Shomea Tefillah, we can make whatever other requests that we may have.

As the High Holidays approach, let's make a conscious effort to make the daily observance of mitzvot more meaningful and new, as if we received them for the first time each and every day.