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Stop Being a Perfectionist!

Friday, 15 January, 2016 - 1:52 pm

Just before G-d brought the final plague upon Egypt, He paused to instruct the Jewish people to observe two commandments.  He charged His people with the mitzvot of circumcision and the Pesach offering. In just seven weeks, they would be instructed to obey all 613 commandments of the Torah.

Why did Almighty G-d insist on this mitzvah at that moment? Why not wait a bit until the Jews would be a free people? What was the emergency? Shouldn’t He first free His people and then give them opportunities to worship Him. Wasn’t freeing His people the number one priority?

Our Sages teach that G-d did not wish the Jewish people to be bereft of mitzvot when they became free people. He therefore gave them these commandments, adorning them with sanctity.

These commandments afforded the Jews an opportunity to immediately break from the Egyptian ways. True, generations of Jews were raised in Egypt. In many respects they were steeped in Egyptian culture. Suddenly, they stood apart as Jews. This sharp contrast was the merit through which the Jewish people were redeemed.

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Oftentimes, we resolve that we will do a mitzvah “when such and such happens.” It could be when our fortune is better. It might be when I first sort out my other problems. Or it may be when I cross off some other more pressing accomplishments from my spiritual checklist.

“How,” we sometimes ask ourselves, “Can I fulfill this mitzvah if I’m not in the proper spiritual state?”

The lesson from this week’s parsha, Bo, is clear.  Exactly the opposite! Do the mitzvah today! It doesn’t matter whether you are “prepared” or “up to it.” If you do the mitzvah, you may just break down the walls of your own exile. 

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