Most of us have been falsely taught all our lives that Torah is impossible to properly keep and observe.
You Can Do It!
Any one an Adam Sandler film fan? He may be really reform, but it is clear he is unashamed of being a Jew! I think it was on the movie “Water Boy” where Rob Schneider’s character always said, “You can do it!” in a Hispanic type of accent. This is what I thought of when I read this verse and commentary:
“’For this thing is very near to you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it." Devarim 30:14.
[The verse states that it is easy for one to fulfill Torah and mitzvot with all three "garments" of the soul - thought, speech and action.
The words "with your mouth" refer to speech, "with your heart" -to thought, and "that you may do it" refers to action.
In a deeper sense, however, "your heart" refers not only to the power of thought, but also to the heart as the seat of the emotions -love, fear, and so on. The verse is telling us, then, that it is within easy reach of every Jew to fulfill the mitzvot with a feeling of awe and love of G-d.’”
– chabad.org, Shevat 4, 5768 * January 11, 2008, Lessons in Tanya, Likutei Amarim, Chapter Seventeen
You see, Keeping Torah involves ones whole being, and the motivating factor and reason behind it is “Love and Fear” as King Solomon said at the conclusion of his book of Ecclesiastes. Love leads to action. Love is a verb, not an adjective; it is an action not an emotion. Many times people get that confused. I think many marriage break up because they do not realize love is an action and not an emotion, so when the emotion is gone, so is the marriage. Interestingly enough the Torah is seen in Judaism as a marriage contract. You see, I don’t get out of bed in the morning and go to a job I am not particularly crazy about because I want to, because I “feel” like it, I do it because I love my wife and family. My wife likes back tickles, I do not enjoy giving them, my arms get tired, so I don’t do it because I “feel” like it, but because I know my wife enjoys it and I love her and want her to be happy. I know she does a lot for me because she loves me and not because she necessarily wants to do it.
Above is the verse Rav Sha’ul quotes in Romans 10:8. G-d gave us a Torah that we can do, not perfectly of course because of our fallen state, but that it is doable and not beyond our comprehension or reach.
“’He (The Alter Rebbe) explained that through contemplating G-d's greatness every person can come to experience such love and awe. Not every man, to be sure, is a tzaddik (righteous one), with his heart under his control. But everyone's mind is under his control, and he can focus his mind in meditation on any subject he chooses. Even if the love and awe produced by such meditation do not make themselves felt in the heart in a revealed way, they will at least appear in his mind, and in the recesses of his heart, as an attitude of love and awe.
Even this detached form of love and awe is sufficient to motivate one to observe the mitzvot, and will enable the mitzvot so motivated to soar heavenward as though he had observed them with a true love and awe of G-d actually felt in the heart.’” – Tanya: Likutei Amarim, Chapter Eighteen
Simply thinking about G-d, His Greatness and His love, recalling the great things He has done for His people in His Word is like igniting the spark of love one feels for a parent, a king or a hero, one can’t help that burning of love to manifest itself into action to show ones love and devotion, and we do this by obeying His Torah. Whether through love, fear or a combination of both, one desires to keep the Torah because one does not want to hurt or disappoint the Divine, and as is natural to every human being, one does not want to reap the consequences of punishment for disobedience. Just as a husband may be tempted by an adulterous rendezvous, his first thought of deterrent is he loves his wife and does not want to hurt her, his second is fear; ‘what will this do to me and my family?’
So in actuality Torah does not do much in the realm of solidifying a religion as is does solidifying a relationship. After all, as Isaiah hints about in chapter one of his book; G-d does not want your religion, He wants a genuine relationship with you; one where there are marriage vows, not rules and regulations.
Unfortunately, many modern day Christians, as modern day married couples do not see the Torah/Marriage Vows as holy standards for a healthy and prosperous relationship, but as a bondage/ball and chain. Many of ones faith and marriages suffer and deteriorate because of this type of attitude and mentality and then have the audacity to blame G-d or the spouse.
Yeshua Ha Moshiach, being the emanation of G-d in the flesh, (so His Commandments are identical to G-d’s) said in the Gospels; “If you love Me, keep My Commandments.” I can just hear the similar echoes in the mind of a spouse when one is tempted to violate ones marriage vows; “honey, if you truly love me you won’t go through with this, you will be faithful to our marital vows.”