What do you do for someone else…just because?
This week’s Torah portion begins with the confusing instructions regarding the ritual of the red heifer. Midrash paints an interesting picture of this confusion. King Solomon is recorded as saying, “I have labored to understand the word of God and have understood it all, except for the ritual of the brown cow.” Other commentators explain that while we may not always understand God’s way or God’s logic, some commandments should be followed without rationale. We must learn how to build faith.
The red cow ritual is thousands of years away from the intricacies of modern-day life. However, there are countless rituals we engage in for our loved ones…rituals we undertake…just because. How many of us separate our children’s food and ensure that the broccoli doesn’t touch the chicken…just because? How many of us buy our partner’s favorite ice cream even if they didn’t ask …just because? How many of us send a note in the mail to a friend or quickly write a text…just because? The way we build faith and trust in our relationships is by doing thousands of things with no expectations in return.
Doing something “just because” is often difficult and frustrating. Getting the immediate reward for an act seems much more gratifying. But doing something “just because” for someone you cherish…that is a reward that builds up over time.
Like our relationship with God, doing something “just because” enables us to develop unconditional bonds of love and devotion.
Have a peaceful Shabbat including many moments of “just because.”