• Maverick (Avigdor) Peters

Parshas Ki Savo 2018: Cultivating Your Excitement

“You shall observe and perform with all your heart & with all your soul.” (Deuteronomy 26:16)

Moshe was teaching the mitzvos (commandments) to the Jewish people again before he passed & before they entered into Eretz Yisrael (Israel). He urged them to be careful to fulfill each of the mitzvos. However, the Ramban adds that Moshe was really imploring the people to observe the mitzvos with all their heart and soul, to the fullest. While Rashi understands this to mean, Moshe wanted the people to observe the mitzvos as though the mitzvos were given today. To observe the Torah as though the opportunity was just given to us from Hashem, Himself today.

A few years back, I met an older Jewish fellow. He was a very friendly man from out-of-town. After no more than five minutes of brief talk, he looked at me & asked smiling, “Tell me, when you put your tefillin on every morning, do you do it with the same EXCITEMENT that you had at your Bar Mitzvah?”

This message is so important. To have the ability to do a mitzvah with intense simcha (joy) is truly remarkable & a very high madreiga (spiritual level).

If I had one lesson to give to a Bar or Bas Mitzvah on the day of their celebration, it would be this: “Everything the (orthodox) Rabbis have taught you leading up to this day, take it with you everywhere you go, live it, love it, and cherish it. These are lessons that will guide you through life. Look around you, remember what this feels like to have your closest family & friends around celebrating YOU. But remember that this celebration is about you becoming a full fledged responsible Jewish adult, a person now responsible for performing all of the mitzvahs. Harbor these emotions of joy & excitement & apply them to the lessons of your Rabbis & let them inspire you on your journey through life. Most importantly, everytime you set out to do a mitzvah, do it like it’s your Bar/Bas Mitzvah. Love every second of it!”

I think we all know this lesson isn't just for the adolescent. All of us can & should channel this feeling of simcha specifically when we are about to fulfill a mitzvah.

A powerful suggestion might be to start with one mitzvah (preferably one we do often) & take total ownership of it, make that YOUR mitzvah. Everytime you do YOUR mitzvah, put your heart & soul into it. Show Hashem how much you care & that you want to be the best version of you. Use your energy & passion to elevate yourself & make Hashem proud.

Have a wonderful Shabbos & weekend!

Maverick V. Peters

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