Pirkei Avot, Day 21

“Do not serve in order to earn reward.” This is a tough one, and for those of us who studied this concept in our mussar class, we know just how tough it is. Doesn’t everything have reward or consequence? What if our reward is that good feeling we get when we do for others? Does that count?

According to our sages, the highest form of doing for others is serving for the sake of serving. This means absolutely no expectations of anything in return. No thank yous, no praise, no gifts, no recognition, no pats on the back. None of it. You have no ulterior motive but to serve.

Many of us struggle with this concept. I can’t tell you how many people I know that expect a thank you card when they give a present. Now this kind act has strings attached to it. Does it remain a kind act? We all have work to do. We have to let go of the need to be recognized, rewarded, praised. That’s our ego getting in the way of what’s really important: Connection, compassion, taking care of each other for the sake of love and oneness.

How about we do 3 random acts of kindness today? Practice letting go of any expectations. Serve for the sake of serving.

Much love to you all!!

Rabbi Gabi

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