The Active Life


1. Talmud: "Right action for the wrong reason leads to right action for the right reason." - How is this possible? Why doesn't the use of wrong motivation make us more dependent upon that wrong motivation? Examples: learning Torah for honor, getting up to meet study partner, behavior contract. Explanation: the soul is naturally attuned to, inspired by mitzvos; it only needs an initial impetus to develop the connection. Compare training children. Therefore it is possible to outgrow the wrong motivation.

2. Pride for accomplishments - making vs. inheriting money, exercise for health vs. height or eye color. (Proud to be Jewish? - share ideology, values, actions, etc.)

3. Satisfaction for actions varies with effort and obstacles. Satisfaction implies prior desire.

4. 2 and 3 imply that people are naturally active.

5. Dream machine - everyone has at least some desire to help the world. E.g. satisfaction from anonymous charity after death.

6. Why do we want to actively improve the world? Torah explanation: natural tuning of the soul to what G-d wants: He creates the world to express chesed (lovingkindness). When we express chesed we become

G-d-like. The capacity for this G-d-likeness is part of being created in

"G-d's form" - we naturally desire to do chesed.

7. There are also selfish desires. This allows free will so that our chesed will be self-determined (in part), similar to G-d's (totally) self-determined chesed. Here too we can use "Right action...."

8. Doing chesed produces satisfaction - the life of the tzadik is not (necessarily) a life of pain and suffering. Here too we imitate G-d: "G-d rejoices in His actions."


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