Many of us go through life performing all sorts of commandments. We wake up and say Modeh Ani, berachot on food, honor our parents, etc. However, often times we struggle to find meaning in what we do. We sometimes feel that these actions are automatic, which in a way takes away from our service of God. Most would agree though that the ideal state would be to constantly serve Hashem with all our heart. Ideally, we should all find deep meaning in the mitzvot and really love performing them for Hashem. In Parashat Bo, we find a few instances that demonstrate this love for the commandments.
“By loving the mitzvot and being eager to perform them with zeal, Bnei Yisrael became the Korban Tamid”
Rav Baruch Simon of Yeshiva University explains that from our parasha, we can be inspired to be like the Korban Tamid. This particular Korban was special because it was constant. Every single day, no matter what the circumstances were, the Kohanim served God by bringing this Korban. He explains that just as the Korban Tamid was a constant avodah, so too our lives should be a constant devotion to Hashem. This very idea is expressed as Bnei Yisrael were leaving Mitzrayim. The Torah states, “The people picked up their dough when it was not yet leavened, their leftovers bound in their garments on their shoulders” (Shemot 12:34). Rav Simon explains that in this pasuk alone, we see two cases of Bnei Yisrael loving the mitzvot. Regarding the “leftovers bound in their garments”, the Taz asks what Mitzvah is performed with the “leftovers”? Didn’t they already perform the Mitzvah the night before? Nevertheless, Bnei Yisrael took great care even in the “remains”. Furthermore, Rashi writes, “although they took many animals with them, they [carried the remaining matzot and bitter herbs on their shoulders because] they loved the mitzvot”. Rav Simon is demonstrating that by loving the mitzvot and being eager to perform them with zeal, Bnei Yisrael became the Korban Tamid. Because they demonstrated their excitement to serve God, they were able to transfer that sensation to the rest of their lives.
The Torah didn’t stop there though. While this was a nice and inspiring example, it’s not explicit. A few passages earlier, Hashem says, “You shall guard the matzot” (ibid. 17). Rashi presents an interesting explanation by Rav Yoshiyah saying,
“Do not read the word as ‘matzot’, but rather as ‘mitzvot’. Just as people do not allow the matzot to become leavened, so should they not allow the commandments to become leavened. Rather, if [the opportunity to fulfill a commandment] comes to your hand, do it immediately”.
What Hashem is trying to tell us is that we must not let the opportunity to serve God escape us. We must be eager to fulfill the commandments. We must be excited to perform mitzvot. We must cherish every opportunity to serve God. When we do that, we find meaning in our daily lives. All of our rote actions, whether it’s saying Modeh Ani, berachot, or honoring our parents, won’t be automatic anymore. They will be done with excitement. We will serve God with enthusiasm and we can each become a Korban Tamid.
May it be God’s will that we find deep meaning in our avodah and that we demonstrate to Hashem that we love his commandments and hopefully in return, He will rebuild the Beit Hamikdash Bimheira Biyameinu Amen!