The Lishmah of Interpersonal Mitzvos

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  1. Seth Abrahams says:

    The word “lishmah” should be used exclusively in relation to Torah Study;
    In regard to all other Mitzvoth the words that should be used are “Leshem Po’alon”.
    So writes Rabbi Chaim Volozhin in Nefesh HaChaim *, Gate 4 Chapter 3
    Which Rabbi Avrahan Yaakiov Finkel Shlita translates as “ Fulfil them
    [the Torah’s commands ] for the sake of their Maker [ i.e., because
    God commanded them] and speak of them [i.e., study them ] for their
    own sake –“ – to understand their meanings, rather than gain honor
    and respect ( Nedarim 62a )
    *The Juadica Press Inc. Brooklyn,NY11218

    • micha says:

      Thank you. But even if I were to follow RCV’s nomeclature, the question I posed stands. Doing something for the sake of our Maker means being nice to others because it’s a mitzvah. Which is certainly not the way I love myself — ve’ahavta lerei’akha kamokha.

      However, RCV’s position isn’t compelling. E.g.
      ” ראשית חכמה יראת ה’ שכל טוב לכל עושיהם (תהלים קיא). לעושים לא נאמר אלא לעושיהם לעושים לשמה ולא לעושים שלא לשמה וכל העושה שלא לשמה נוח לו שלא נברא ” – Berakhos 17a
      ” לעולם יעסוק אדם בתורה ובמצווה אפילו שלא לשמה, שמתוך שלא לשמה בא לשמה” – Sanhedrin 105b

      BTW, Nefesh haChaim is available on line. NhC 4:3 is here.
      – מסכת ברכות יז,א

  1. February 12, 2007 – כ״ד בשבט תשס״ז

    […] on this question in my post on the lishmah of interpersonal mitzvos. Posted in Mussar by micha RSS 2.0 Leave YourComment […]

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