We Will Hear and We Will Do

Central motif of the festival of Shavuot: is it better to act out of volition or obligation?

“Is it better to do something because one is obligated or because one chooses? One is usually not rewarded for following the law — for example, stopping at a red light. But one is viewed as praiseworthy when acting out of volition — for example, helping an elderly person across the street. It is precisely because one is not legally mandated to do something that the act is often considered meritorious.”

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