Chovot Halevovot: Using Ones Self #13

After the death of the two sons of Aharon, Hashem taught Aharon the laws of sacrifices. Rashi quotes Rav Elazar ben Azarya who tells a parable. A doctor once warned an ill person not to sleep in damp places or eat sharp vegetables, but he didn’t take the admonition seriously. When a second doctor told him he would die, he woke up sharply. Hashem taught Aharon the laws of sacrifices so that he would know Hashem’s will and not take matters in his own hands. Although Aharon was exceedingly righteous, the visual image of his sons’ death aroused him to understand the consequences if one doesn’t listen to Hashem.

The Chovot Halevovot mentions the significance of doing mitzvot with joy. This comes from feeling indebted to Hashem for all the gifts he showers upon us. What stimulates a person to have gratitude? When we recognize all the kindness Hashem does for us and when we study His Torah we come to realize how much we depend on Him. Logic is not enough to arouse feelings of gratitude. We have to thank Hashem by living the way he commanded us to. Just saying, ‘I love you Hashem,’ but not keeping the mitzvot leads to ingratitude.


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