Halacha » Doing Mitzvot For Our Own Sake

Doing Mitzvot For Our Own Sake

Our Parasha starts with a commandment to Avraham Avinu to leave his home town, his place of birth and go to the unknown.

In Pirkei Avot, Chazal count this to be one of the ten tests of Avraham Avinu. But the question arises, how is this considered a test, if we know, as Rashi tells us on the spot, that HaKadosh Baruch Hu told Avraham that his leaving would actually be beneficial? Wouldn’t we all do whatever we’re told if we were promised by no less than Hashem Himself that is for our benefit?

The explanation is that Hashem didn’t openly tell Avraham that it would be for his benefit, but rather hinted it – לך לך, go for your own benefit. The test of Avraham was not the actual going, as that he would do regardless since he was directly commanded so; but the test was to feel the positive feeling of when he goes that it is for his own good and he will only gain from it. When we fulfill Hashem’s Mitsvot, we can do them begrudgingly, feeling that we’re sacrificing too much; but that is the wrong approach. The proper way of thinking is that although we are indeed doing the Mitsvot only because we are commanded, but we must also have the feeling that they are all there for us—they make us gain here in this world, as well as the next.