Motivation for Avodas Hashem
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- This topic has 50 replies, 13 voices, and was last updated 5 years, 1 month ago by Reb Eliezer.
January 11, 2018 4:57 pm at 4:57 pm #1447671
I went to a BY show recently and was kind of expecting what id seen by all the school shows I’d been to in the past (which were lubavitch)
In the end, it was a very different experience, but one key difference intrigued me: the theme of schar kept coming up throughout the show.
It intrigues me because schar and onesh aren’t really a motivating factor in my life or Avodas Hashem – because it was not a key theme in the chinuch I received.
And thinking about it, I don’t think in today’s dark golus, it would motivate me enough to serve Hashem –
And by that I don’t mean to be frum – as that is the life I was raised in and find most comfortable etc. But I don’t think it would be enough to motivate me to leave my comfort zone and do things in not comfortable with – go the extra mile, and also make Hashem the priority and enjoyment of my life.
So I’m curious if this is a key factor and motivator for everyone here, and if so, how do you combat the instant gratification culture so prevalent today, in exchange for a far off intangible reward that doesn’t seem interesting (unless you are already “hooked” on Yiddishkeit, and if so, what hooked you?)January 12, 2018 12:09 am at 12:09 am #14482735ishParticipant
Schar and Onesh is spoken about in many classical Jewish sources. Of course it is not the ultimate level in Avodas Hashem but it can certainly be a useful tool to motivate people who otherwise would not. Fear of punishment is certainly a lower level than fear of sinning to God but if that is all that is holding a person from sinning it is certainly worthwhile.January 12, 2018 12:10 am at 12:10 am #1448279LightbriteParticipant
Hashem put you here for a reason, and that’s to serve him by bringing light and blessings to the world.
When I’m feeling down, I remind myself (and it’s not always easy), that Hashem has a purpose for me being in and experiencing this moment… If I’m going somewhere where I may face challenges, I pray for Hashem to make my presence a blessing to the world -it keeps me going.January 12, 2018 12:46 am at 12:46 am #1448484
Throughout the Seforim HaKedoshim Klal Yisroel is admonished by Chachmei Yisroel regarding the various severe onshim we have for violating or not properly completing the various tasks that the RBSO demands of us. It is only in today’s messed up generation that the youth have demanded that the severe onshim not be mentioned too much.January 12, 2018 1:32 am at 1:32 am #1448497
Serving Hashem from fear of punishment or wanting to receive Schar, is not the ultimate level of Avodas Hashem, and far from it. As the Rambam says in Hilchos Teshuva, Perek 10:1
אל יאמר אדם הריני עושה מצות התורה ועוסק בחכמתה כדי שאקבל כל הברכות הכתובות בה או כדי שאזכה לחיי העולם הבא, ואפרוש מן העבירות שהזהירה תורה מהן כדי שאנצל מן הקללות הכתובות בתורה או כדי שלא אכרת מחיי העולם הבא. אין ראוי לעבוד את ה’ על הדרך הזה, שהעובד על דרך זה הוא עובד מיראה ואינה מעלת הנביאים ולא מעלת החכמים. ואין עובדים ה’ על דרך זה אלא עמי הארץ והנשים והקטנים שמחנכין אותן לעבוד מיראה עד שתרבה דעתן ויעבדו מאהבה:
A person should not say: “I will fulfill the mitzvot of the Torah and occupy myself in its wisdom in order to receive all the blessings which are contained within it or in order to merit the life of the world to come.”
“[Similarly,] I will separate myself from all the sins which the Torah warned against so that I will be saved from all the curses contained in the Torah or so that [my soul] will not be cut off from the life of the world to come.”
It is not fitting to serve God in this manner. A person whose service is motivated by these factors is considered one who serves out of fear. He is not on the level of the prophets or of the wise.
The only ones who serve, God in this manner are common people, women, and minors. They are trained to serve God out of fear until their knowledge increases and they serve out of love.
From here we see two important points.
1. Children do need to be educated in serving Hashem out of from and for Schar. This is what’s taught in virtually every frum school. That’s the way children can relate to serving Hashem. However,
2. We must recognize that while we do get punished for transgressing Hashems will, and we do get rewarded for listening to Hashem, this is not the reason why we serve him. We must serve Hashem out of love, not fear or gaining reward.January 13, 2018 8:41 pm at 8:41 pm #1448747Shopping613 🌠Participant
Not a motivator for me at all.January 14, 2018 9:07 am at 9:07 am #1448904
“Hashem put you here for a reason, and that’s to serve him by bringing light and blessings to the world.”
Yes that’s what motivates me too! That I’m working for Him, making this world a perfect hangout for Him where He can feel at home – through my Avodas Hashem.
What I find especially motivating is when I remember how Hashem chose little me with all my faults and imperfections, to serve HIM – whose Greatness defies description, and that what I do actually MATTERS to Him, matters enough for Him to bother with the rewards and punishment system…
“When I’m feeling down, I remind myself (and it’s not always easy), that Hashem has a purpose for me being in and experiencing this moment… If I’m going somewhere where I may face challenges, I pray for Hashem to make my presence a blessing to the world -it keeps me going.”
+1January 14, 2018 9:08 am at 9:08 am #1448905
@joseph so being honest here… You really think that if someone gives you a speech on how looking at non Jewish entertainment is gonna land you in gehennom big time… That’s gonna motivate you to drop it all LONG TERM even if you enjoy it?
I find that hard to believe…January 14, 2018 9:08 am at 9:08 am #1448908
You missed my point. Of course I heard of the concept growing up – I learned its one of the yud gimmel ikrim to believe Hashem does punish and reward… My point is that that wouldn’t likely motivate me when I hit an obstacle…
Yeah me too, cuz I was thinking if that was why I was told to serve Hashem, id basically be serving myself – earning schar and avoiding punishment for my own selfish preferences, and if that’s the case, I can think if more enjoyable ways to service myself in this upside down world of lies, where the bitter and bad looks pleasurable…January 14, 2018 9:43 am at 9:43 am #1448952
CS, 1) Who said it needs only be said as a motivator? It’s the truth and the truth needs to be said out loud and clear. 2) Our gedolei yisroel for thousands of years admonished us as such, so clearly they felt it is the correct and appropriate mussar to give us.January 14, 2018 9:48 am at 9:48 am #1448963🍫Syag LchochmaParticipant
I find that hard to believe…
absolutely 100% true for some people. Telling some people how much Hashem loves them just fosters the feeling that Hashem knows they mean well and accepts them for who they are, not always motivating change. For some people, knowing that the fires of gihenom await them for specific actions is enough to jolt them out of participating or going deeper into it, and refraining from the behaviors brings more clarity, thereby encouraging the person to stay away long term and grow further.
I’ve heard about it from speakers, seen it in others and experienced it myself. And if you read Dr. Twerski’s experiences with drug and alcohol addicts, he tells you that they have to hit rock bottom. They have to actually see the gihenom they have brought on themselves and their families because until you understand the severity of the consequence, you don’t have a strong enough opposing force to the pull of the addiction.
Joseph yelling at people is worthless, but legitamte Torah sources and Rabbanim teaching the firey consequences to certain behaviors and lifestyles is life changing. If not for you, then that’s you. Many people out there are not you.January 14, 2018 1:58 pm at 1:58 pm #1449112
“CS, 1) Who said it needs only be said as a motivator? It’s the truth and the truth needs to be said out loud and clear”
Sure I’m all for that. I was just questioning its use as do this so you can get schar…
“2) Our gedolei yisroel for thousands of years admonished us as such, so clearly they felt it is the correct and appropriate mussar to give us.”
Yes and back then the effect was different than today. I believe i referenced this on your tochacha thread in the story of the day gehennom burnt down.January 14, 2018 3:43 pm at 3:43 pm #1449157TheFakeMavenParticipant
There are two points to be made:
1) The concept of schar veoineash in the coming world by definition cannot be the ultimate motivator. It is basic human psychology that a long term pleasure (or the opposite) cannot truly overcome immediate gratification. Of course it can be a motivator, but not an ultimate one.
2) the real motivator has to be one that gives immediate gratification, and that is the connection that one has now and every second with HKBH, and the more one cultivates it, the more pleasure one experiences through doing the mitzvohs etc.
It wold be of great use for the chinuch system to teach the Chovos Hatilmudim, and Hachsheres Ha’vreichim, which clearly exlplains the ins and out of this concept.January 14, 2018 7:43 pm at 7:43 pm #1449234jmj613Participant
I think rav shais taub in last weeks Ami explains why we need both ahavas hashem but also yiras hashemJanuary 15, 2018 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm #1449584Shopping613 🌠Participant
I do things for selfish reasons.
I didn’t say what you meant.
I meant that fear and punishment don’t motivate me.January 15, 2018 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm #1449526
@fake maven thanks for your comment, really enjoyedJanuary 15, 2018 1:43 pm at 1:43 pm #1449525
@syag sure I agree with you 100%. My point was that that show in all the songs kept saying how the characters should push themselves beyond their limits to get schar in the next world. That’s what I found a bit strange and was wondering if it’s just a different upbringing. Gathering the responses from this thread, its not just me that wouldn’t be motivated that way to make Yiddishkeit my life, and not one of the things I do when it works for me.
Of course we need to have yiras and ahavas Hashem. Just I find Yirah and Ahava allot more motivating when the focus is my personal relationship with Hashem right now, (Yirah is the fear of losing that relationship.) not in Olam habaah. Ahavas Hashem that motivates me, is the Love I have for Hashem Who is my life, provides me with everything, and the fact that I get to be chosen and work for such a Boss. That’s what keeps me find all day – I love being part of His plan here in THIS world!January 15, 2018 2:59 pm at 2:59 pm #1449657
I guess that Rambam Hilchos Teshuva I posted got ignored.January 15, 2018 6:07 pm at 6:07 pm #1450240
SHY: Where do you see a stira?January 15, 2018 6:08 pm at 6:08 pm #1450500
Sorry I realized I never acknowledged your post. Thanks allot, it was good to see that source!January 15, 2018 7:10 pm at 7:10 pm #1450511
Chabadshlucha, I am such a person. And on the contrary the many of the other motivations would move me. I agree with Joseph.
Sechel HaYahar, that Rambam is meant for ba’alei madreigah, and we are speaking of simple folk here.January 15, 2018 7:42 pm at 7:42 pm #1450516
I meant many of the other motivations would not move me.January 15, 2018 7:46 pm at 7:46 pm #1450527
“Sechel HaYahar, that Rambam is meant for ba’alei madreigah, and we are speaking of simple folk here.”
Speak for yourself, but I think most people would take issue with being called an Am Haaretz, which is who the Rambam says such a view is for. Also, see Pirkei Avos 1:3:
אל תהיו כעבדים המשמשין את הרב על מנת לקבל פרס, אלא הוו כעבדים המשמשין את הרב שלא על מנת לקבל פרס, ויהי מורא שמים עליכם.
“Do not be as slaves, who serve their master for the sake of reward. Rather, be as slaves who serve their master not for the sake of reward. And the fear of Heaven should be upon you.”
It’s evident from the above Maamar Chazal as well as the Rambam quoted above, that the Chachamim didn’t exactly encourage doing Mitzvos in order to receive Schar, or refrain from committing Aveiros because of fear of Gehinnom, which is why we use the term “Yiras Shomayim” not “Yiras Gehinnom”, because we’re not selfish people driven by rewards, rather, we want to do what Hashem wants, to fulfill his will, because that’s why he created us. We want to give Hashem Nachas Ruach, not earn mileage points on the Heavenly Express ™.January 15, 2018 8:05 pm at 8:05 pm #1450534
SHY: How do you explain the huge amount of Seforim HaKedoshim throughout the centuries in galus, from the Rishonim and Achronim, warning us of the dire punishments for various aveiras?January 15, 2018 8:28 pm at 8:28 pm #1450562
Seychal HaYashar, simple folk today are not on the spiritual level of Rambam’s am’aratzim. Yeridas ha’doros…January 15, 2018 8:28 pm at 8:28 pm #1450561
Sure the punishments are out there, but is that why you shouldn’t do the aveiros? These “fire and brimstone” warnings, are usually reserved for people who are doing Aveiros, knowingly, because they couldn’t care about their relationship with the Aibershter, and aren’t really interested in what he wants.
Tell me Joseph, if Gehinnom were to close down (due to “lack of interest”) would you still be a frum Yid? What if Schar also stopped? Why would you continue being frum?
A practical example:
Until 20 years we aren’t punished for our Aveiros, so why shouldn’t one do Aveiros until he or she turns 20?January 15, 2018 9:01 pm at 9:01 pm #1450568
I knew that was coming. Obviously you aren’t too well versed in Rambam to know what and who he calls an Am Haaretz. When I have some time I’ll quote a few.January 15, 2018 9:01 pm at 9:01 pm #1450572
Seychal HaYashar, the 20 old statement is not to be taken literally.
I’ll tell I would not have become frum and progressed further if not for yiras ha’onesh.January 16, 2018 12:37 am at 12:37 am #1450592
SHY, I didn’t mean his level of observance, but rather the level of his neshomah.January 16, 2018 7:34 am at 7:34 am #1450614
The main factor for a child is that this is his parent and he loves him and wants them to be proud of him and not angry or disappointed with his behaviour.
If anything less applies to our Avodas Hashem, me thinks that the person needs to delve more into who we are and what Hashem is, and the depth etc of our relationship so we don’t remain spiritually immature.January 16, 2018 7:34 am at 7:34 am #1450613
A good teacher makes a lesson that engages and interests the students and the students enjoy the learning atmosphere. The reward and punishment area for extra enforcement, not the main motivator.
Same with parents: successful parents imbue their children with the responsibility to contribute to the household and later, society, and prizes or punishments are just to help with an extra incentive, but cannot be the main motivating factor for every step the child takes,January 16, 2018 7:35 am at 7:35 am #1450612
I think a good way to understand it is like the mashal is a teacher or a parent.
Both need to instill reward (prizes of compliments etc) and punishments (time out, detention, removal of privileges etc.) because some kids don’t yet appreciate learning, and kids should feel their efforts are acknowledged and appreciated, and they can’t just get away with everything.
but if the students only listen when they are promised x to do whatever it is,
Or the kids only agree to do chores when they are paid for it / get prizes and ask up front what they’ll get before they agree to do anything the parent says, I’m sure you agree the patent and teacher need to work on their skills as this is far from ideal.January 16, 2018 9:14 am at 9:14 am #1450600TheFakeMavenParticipant
The years old statement is actually a big machlokos achronim, there are some that say that after twenty you do get an oinesh for what you did from thirteen.
We are all forgetting what Chazal say in פסחים דף נ’, לעולם יעסוק אדם בתורה ובמצות שלא לשמה, שמתוך שלא לשמה באה לשמהת the של”ה says that although it is actually an aveirah to learn שלא לשמה, it is impossible to achieve lshmah without first learning shlo l’shma.
This is all besides the point for there are two seperate discussions going on here, which for some reason is being jumbled together. The first point is What is the ultimate goal, and that is l’shma, not for schar. The second point is: How do we reach such a level, and that depends on the person. For some its schar, and for some it’s the oinesh.January 16, 2018 9:14 am at 9:14 am #1450615
@mdd1 thanks for your honest response!!! What do you think of the mashal? And just curious if again that is enough to keep to the right things and avoid the wrong things when it doesn’t take major effort,
Or if it also motivates you to make Hashem and Avodas Hashem the center of your life, ie define your career, how you spend your free time (not talking about assur/mutar, I mean in a way that your won’t mind telling Hashem that this is how you spent your free time after 120, because young had Him in mind), what you enjoy – making Him proud etc.
You don’t have to answer, its personal, although you’re also anonymous, but to me, the latter can only result from my personal relationship with Hashem right now.January 16, 2018 11:34 am at 11:34 am #1450842
It’s not only fear of punishment- it’s also fear of being labeled “a rashah” in Heaven.January 16, 2018 1:02 pm at 1:02 pm #1450841
Chabadshlucha, keeping away from issurim and doing all the obligatory mitsvos properly is already a really big thing. Your mashalim don’t help in situations where one has a serious yetzer hara to do something one is not supposed to do.January 17, 2018 1:11 pm at 1:11 pm #1451567
@mdd1 true that is a big thing. Not trying to negate it. Whatever level were on we struggle, but the higher we go, the struggle is at the next level.
Like some people struggle not to eat treif, some struggle not to eat chalav akum products, some struggle with which hechsherim to eat… We all struggle, question is what the struggle is. And any tools to make the struggles elevated to the next level are good, no?
Also kedoshim tihyu is a mitzva tooJanuary 17, 2018 7:22 pm at 7:22 pm #1451799
To go to higher levels the fear doesn’t help because one does not get punished or gets a roshah label for not going there.January 17, 2018 7:22 pm at 7:22 pm #1451800
1. Not all motivations are good. 2. Kedoshim tihyu just means not engaging in very big ta’avos.January 17, 2018 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm #1451863JJ2020Participant
Everyone is motivated by schar and onesh. If you think you aren’t it’s bc you don’t believe it. For example, if someone with a whip in his hand says if you do that aveira I will give you lashes you better believe that will be motivation. If someone tells you if you give maasur I’ll give you 100 times that back, of course you will be motivated by it.January 18, 2018 6:51 am at 6:51 am #1451929
1) somewhat true because Hashem expects us to grow and judges people according to their level – things that the avos may have been severely punished for are no big deal for regular people to do
2) chazal say it means kadesh atzmecha bmutar lach. Hence the examples I gave above. also see, kol maasecha yihyu lshem shomayim, and bchol dirachecha doeihu.
Anyhow all my point is is that for me to constantly push myself to grow, i need to develop proper yiras and ahavas Hashem based on my current rewards and punishments having a current relationship with Hashem comes with, and not JUST or even mainly, in Olam habaah.January 18, 2018 7:34 pm at 7:34 pm #1452648
Chabadshlucha, your pshat in kadesh es atzmecha is not the pshat of the Rishonim. It’s also dangerous as it places an obligation on every Yid to grow in levels of chassidus – it was not meant for everyone.
Your last paragraph I didn’t understand 100%.January 22, 2018 7:04 pm at 7:04 pm #1455033
Mdd1 it seems we are coming from two different worlds worth regards to our chinuch. I was educated that everything we do in life needs to have a purpose and the purpose needs to be to serve Hashem.
In fact, based on perek ches Tanya, it is through controlling ourselves with permitted things, and directing their use for Hashem that we strengthen our self control and weaken our yetzer hara so that when it comes to an actual aveira is much less of a struggle.
Hence, things like ice cream to enjoy the taste, sleeping in, or centering ones life around trying out top cuts of kosher beef are frowned upon.
As far as Kadesh atzmecha I didn’t make it up. I can give you a source to look up that brings in all the relevant maamarei chazal if you shall so desire 🙂January 23, 2018 8:13 pm at 8:13 pm #1456020
Chabadshlucha, I don’t disagree much with you. The Shulchan Aruch says one should do mutar things le’shem Shamaim, but if one doesn’t — his action is not praiseworthy (except for one activity, but it is not poshut).
Please, do bring the sources for the ”Kadesh es…”January 24, 2018 9:54 am at 9:54 am #1456173
Sure. Please look up likutei sichos, chelek aleph, sicha beis (starting from ois vov), parshas Kedoshim for a full analysis.January 24, 2018 4:12 pm at 4:12 pm #1456403☕ DaasYochid ☕Participant
“Chabadshlucha, your pshat in kadesh es atzmecha is not the pshat of the Rishonim.”
“Please look up likutei sichos, chelek aleph, sicha beis (starting from ois vov), parshas Kedoshim for a full analysis.”
So the Rebbe made up his own pshat against the rishonim?January 25, 2018 4:08 pm at 4:08 pm #1456543
DY it is clear you have never learned anything the Rebbe said. The Rebbe brings mekoros for everything and says vyesh lomar if there is any chiddush involved based on the above. The Rebbe’s gadlus in Torah is obviously much greater than me or you or mdd1.
Regardless, Mdd1 did not quote any rishonim which say kadesh atzmecha bmutar lach ONLY applies to a certain taava. I learned what he is referring to – as One example, not an exclusive.January 25, 2018 7:15 pm at 7:15 pm #1457344
Chabadshlucha: 1.I am a Misnaged — i don’t have the Rebbe’s sichos standing on my shelf. So, could you, please, elaborate.
2.Sorry, but you misunderstood me. I meant shitas Ramban and Rabbeinu Bechaya who say that ”Kedoshim tehiyu…” means not going a lot after any permissible pleasure.January 26, 2018 7:36 am at 7:36 am #1457473
Mdd1 its on Hebrewbooks.org. The idea is a elaborated above – everything we have should be used to serve Hashem, and even in devarim hamutarim there’s no – this is where I’m “free” from serving Hashem. True freedom btw is serving Hashem. Just in the source I gave you, you will find all the mekoros.
According to your point two, were saying the same thing. So what did you disagree with?January 26, 2018 10:37 am at 10:37 am #1457530
Chabadshlucha, the key word is “a lot”. Eating a cone of ice cream for one’s own pleasure is not a bitul of “Kedoshim tihyu…”.
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