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The greatest prize

התפצלות דרכים

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

"Shalom Sivan,

I learned this secret when I was a kid and it changed my life. I had volunteered to help put in order the facility where the branch of our youth movement met. The space was terribly disorganized and our group mentor asked: 'Do you know the benefit of putting things in order?' And he answered: 'That you put things in order.'

In other words, you get a tremendous reward -- self-improvement -- from doing what is correct and proper. This is a greater prize than any treat or gift by virtue of the fact that you do what must be done.

The above idea is based on the opening words of the Torah portion that we read this past Shabbat. We can follow one of two paths: one invariably leads to blessings and the other to curses. What is the path or the behavior that leads to blessings? Doing the right thing. And what about curses? Curses result from making the wrong choices. Depending on how we choose, we receive the greatest reward or the greatest punishment.

'Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse. The blessing, if you will heed the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today; and the curse, if you will not heed the commandments of the Lord your God.'

Many years have passed since I learned this lesson and I recently repeated it to my children. May we all merit to choose the path that leads to blessings, in addition to simply feeling good that we did the right thing."


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