Tuesday, February 1, 2011

"Easy" Mitzvos

A friend and I once had a discussion on this point which changed the way I view things, and I thought I'd throw it out to my readership.

I believe that Hashem grants us all special talents and abilities and we should all consider how we can best use those gifts to benefit others. Different strong points make different mitzvos easier for different people.

It is my feeling that everyone should explore their own individual talents and concentrate on performing acts of chessed and mitzvos that utilitze their strong points. These "easy" mitzvos can benefit the lives of others greatly. Some people are of the belief that mitzvos don't "count" as much if they're the "easy" ones. They say that a person gets more reward for the mitzvos are difficult to perform.

What are YOUR thoughts on this?


Ezzie said...

I agree more with you on this one. I think it's important to focus on using the talents you're given, since that's a person's clear role in this world. That said, a person should then work on his/her other areas to improve on them so those too can become "easy" mitzvos.

BLD said...

Eating Cholent on Shabbos thats an easy Mitzvoh everyone should focus on. Hatzlacha!

Mystery Woman said...

Pirkei Avos tells us to be as careful with an easy one as we are with a hard one because we don't know the reward of a mitzvah. So what may seem like an easy mitzvah to us, might be considered a major one as far as reward.

itsagift said...

Yes, people should definitely do the mitzvos that are easier for them but that doesn't mean they shouldn't work on the things that are hard for them too.

On the other hand, if they decided to "drop" the mitzvos that are easier and instead focus on the ones that are harder, they would lose out on QUANTITY and be busy with the QUALITY - assuming the expended more effort on performing the mitzvos that are more difficult for them.

I think people should focus on doing things that are easy for them when the opportunity arrises but they should not forget to keep working on things that are difficult - so that eventually they'll master those mitzvos too and they'll become easier for them!

Not always does one have a chance to pick and choose - Hashem puts people in situations that are difficult for them so they could work on their middos.

For example, someone may be in a situation where their patience is tested to the max - all so they could work on it. Someone who is a patient person will have other tests.

G6 said...

itsagift -
I agree with you, but I referring to mitzvos that are hard for some and easier for others, not to situations that Hashem puts us in to test us.
For instance, those of us who love to cook, find Hachnosas Orchim easier than those who don't.
Some people are better at Bikur Cholim - others are more sensitive to hospitals and the like.
Creative people find chessed programs that utilize their talents even though it takes them out of the house many hours easier, while those with many children find it easier to babysit on the fly for somebody who needs it.
Am I making sense?

itsagift said...

Yes, you are making perfect sense. When you put it that way then for sure, people should do the mitzvos that come naturally to them. It seems like you are referring to different types of chessed opportunities.

When someone does the type of kindness that comes easily to them, it will be best for the recipient of their action. If they work on something that's hard for them the recipient will feel it. There's negative vibes that come along - like the child who is "forced" to go visit people in a nursing home. She can fake the smile, try to give gushy compliments (woooow, what a beautiful necklace you're wearing!! --- which one?! lol) but the unspoken messages do go through.

People should stick to the chessed they're best at and not do those that will leave them feeling resentful afterwards.

Yekke Wannabe said...

The Rambam at the Makkos writes the reason why Hashem gave us 613 Mitzvos so that a person could choose one Mitzvoh according to their strength and focus on that Mitzvoh and do that Mitzvoh completely.

Anonymous said...

Seudas Purim is another great one.

Anonymous said...

I was once told "small stones make big ripples" and it's true. Regardless of the relative difficulty of a the mitzvah, there is no way for us to know how deep or wide an impact it will have. I think that that means that it is up to us take advantage of the opportunities to do mitzvot with the assumption that they have an inherent value. The opportunities to do the things that are easier for us will come up more often because we put ourselves in positions in which we can do things at which we excel, but pushing ourselves has great value in terms of the mitzvot that we can accomplish and the way that we think of ourselves and our skills/abilities.

YDL said...

All of Yaakov's children were different, each with different talents, and all are b'nei Yaakov, i.e. equal. See R' Hirsch's commentary on this; it's all there.

Gavi said...

I personally feel that there is no way to compare mitzvos to one another - the mishna in pirkei avos is probably referring to our subjective takes on them... And besides, it finishes " she'ein atah yode'a matan secharan shel mitzvos."

I think that if people always focused on providing services to the klall that they are good at, the world would be an even better place.

Yehudah said...

I very much agree that although a person should work on all his character traits and capabilities, he should should particularly take advantage of those qualities that G-d has blessed him.

He should take them as a "sign" that G-d wants him to serve Him using particularly those qualities. A famous chassidic rebbe once said as much to my father many years ago.

Ellen said...

Hmmm I hear two different ideas playing in this conversation:

(1) Hashem gives each person a particular tafkid or mission in life.
(2) Whatever area we find especially challenging - and we will run into it time and again - is our principal Avodah or spiritual quest in life.

I was never able to wrap my brain around #2 before. But maybe there's a difference in what each is talking about:

(1) talents and skills
(2) midos (character) development

I see that distinction in what itsagift says - for example one can develop patience in many circumstances. Perhaps you could say midos is an aspect of the "quality" of a mitzvah.

Laya said...

My father-in-law (a great chazan, among many other accomplishments) said that the Mishna referring to 'mitzva kala' was about zemiros, because it's an easy mitzva and easy to take lightly.

Another rav I am close to says that he has seen two generations grow up, and the families with kids to be truly proud of always seem to be the zemiros-singers. (this dealing with the end of the Mishna, and a million other parenting issues)