Rabbi S.R. Hirsch on Tehillim
Perek 100: 2
"It is regrettable that the concept of "Divine service" is understood to consist primarily of the ritual of prayer and sacrifice in the Temple and Synagogues. This is not in accordance with the Jewish idea of Avodoat Hashem. The true "service of G-d," is primarily and most truly performed in the process of day- to- day living. "To serve God" means to devote all one's energy, all the means and talents at one's disposal and every moment of one's life to the execution of God's will, and he whose entire life is devoted to the service of God in this spirit is called- Eved Hashem. Prayer and the offering of sacrifices are called "Divine service" only because through them we prepare and consecrate ourselves anew each time for that which is the actual service of God. They are symbolic acts, as stated in Psalm 50:5 "Karati Briti ali zevach". (cf. Commentary to Shemos 12:25)
In Psalm 99 we read of the earnestness of attitude and resolve with which the nations shall one day enter into the covenant of God and thus come into His presence. Here, in the first verse of Psalm 100, this solemnity is recapitulated in the call to the world to render homage to God with Treuah. At the same time, however mankind is called upon to dedicate itself to this life of solemn Divine service with rejoicing, and to complete it with joy. For it is such life, ash such a life on, that can give us true simcha- the feeling of study and sonctatn spiritual and moral "growth," the continuous growth of all that is truly human in us, a blissful joy of life that is not subject to change n any manner by then outward circumstances which life may bring. Thus, serving God with all our lives should not be to us a burden to be borne because of fear. We are summoned to serve God with gladness, and to serve Him outside the confines of the Temple. For it is only if we thus serve Him in our everyday lives that "Bao Lefanav Brnana," the mood of joy which will remain in our hearts as a result , will accompany us into the House of God."
SEVEN PRINCIPLES OF JEWISH LEADERSHIP
BY Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks
Principle 7: Leadership is stressful and emotionally demanding.
Listen to Moses, the greatest leader the Jewish people ever had: “Did I conceive all these people? Did I give birth to them? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their ancestors?... I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. If this is how you are going to treat me, please go ahead and kill me —if I have found favor in your eyes – and do not let me face my own ruin” (Num. 11: 11-15).
Leaders lead because there is work to do, there are people in need, there is injustice to be fought, there is wrong to be righted, there are problems to be solved and challenges ahead. Leaders hear this as a call to light a candle instead of cursing the darkness. They lead because they know that to stand idly by and expect others to do the work is the too-easy option. The responsible life is the best life there is, and is worth all the pain and frustration. To lead is to serve; The highest accolade Moses ever received was to be called “eved Hashem“ – “God’s servant” – and there is no higher honor.
רבינו יונה על הרי“ף ברכות ב:, איזהו בן העוה”ב זה הסומך גאולה של ערבית לתפלה של ערבית.
ואומר מורי הרב שהטעם שזוכה לשכר גדול כזה מפני שהקב“ה כשגאלנו והוציאנו ממצרים היה להיותנו לו לעבדים...ובברכת גאל ישראל מזכיר בה החסד שעשה עמנו הבורא. והתפלה היא עבודה. כדאמרינן (בבא קמא דף צ“ב:)...וכשהוא מזכיר יציאת מצרים ומתפלל מיד מראה שכמו שהעבד שקונה אותו רבו חייב לעשות מצות רבו כן הוא מכיר הטובה והגאולה שגאל אותו הבורא ושהוא עבדו ועובד אותו. וכיון שמכיר שהוא עבדו מפני שגאלו ועושה רצונו ומצותיו נמצא שבעבור זה זוכה לחיי העולם הבא.
Talmidei Rabbeinu Yona, Rif Berakhot 4b, eizehu ben ha-olam ha-ba…
And my teacher the master said that the reason that one merits so greatly is that when the Holy Blessed One redeemed us and took us out of Egypt were were to be to Him as slaves…And in the beracha of Ga’al Yisrael we mention the loving kindness that the Creator did on our behalf. And Tefila is service (avoda – from the root for the word slave) as we are taught in Bava Kama 82b … And when you mention the Exodus from Egypt and pray immediately you show that just like a slave who has been acquired by his master is obligated to what his master commands so too you recognize that you are God’s slave and must worship Him. And once you recognize that you are God’s servant, because God redeemed you, you will do God’s will and His commandments – and because of this you can merit to live in the World to Come.
ועוד אמר מורי נר“ו טעם אחר מפני שכשמזכיר גאולת מצרים ומתפלל מיד הוא מראה שבוטח בה‘ בתפלה כיון שמבקש ממנו צרכיו. שמי שאינו בוטח בו לא יבקש ממנו כלום...וכיון שמזכיר עכשיו אותה הגאולה שבטחו אבותינו בה‘ והצילם ומתפלל מיד נמצא שגם הוא בוטח בו שיענה אותו כמו שענה לישראל בעבור שבטחו בו. ומפני זה מזכיר אותה הגאולה ומתפלל מיד. והבטחון הוא עיקר היראה והאמונה ולפיכך זוכה בסיבתו לחיי עולם הבא:
And my teacher also said another reason [for the great rewards of linking geula to Tefila]. Because when you mention the exodus from Egypt and immediately make requests in Prayer you show that you have faith in God. For you would not ask something on someone in whom you had no faith. And since you mention the same redemption that caused our ancestors to have faith in God who had saved them, and then pray immediately, behold you must have faith that God will answer you as was done for the Israelites. And because of this you mention the same redemption and then pray immediately. And faith (trust, בטחון) is the foundation of fear (יראה) and belief (אמונה). And therefore, you merit a place in the World to Come.
Ma'aseh Nissim on the Haggadah, 7:1 (14th Century France)
In every generation each person must see him/herself… This statement should not be understood literally. People often assume that it means that had their ancestors not left Egypt they would still be slaves there. But if this is the meaning of this statement then it is equally true for all the other miracles in history that God performed for the Jewish people. For instance, the same statement could be said concerning Purim (we should see ourselves as if we were personally saved from Haman…). Yet for other deliverances, it is customary to make a blessing in which one says, “Blessed are you…who redeemed our ancestors...” One does not say “and for us,” as we do in the Pesach Haggadah.
What we are stating here is not that each person should see him/herself as if he/she went forth from slavery but rather that each person should see him/herself as if he/she was personally redeemed from Egypt to become participant in the covenant. While we did not personally experience slavery and redemption, we all can say that because our ancestors were redeemed from slavery, we have the privilege of being Jews and living by the Torah. It is in this sense that we are all connected to the Exodus and not in an experiential sense. We did not experience Egypt in an immediate sense as our ancestors did but the fact that our ancestors were redeemed has shaped our identity. That is our connection to the past.