We all fall victim to things being rote. Activities that are important to us become a bore or even, God forbid, burdensome. In this week’s parsha the Israelites are donating materials for the construction of the Mishkan and we read the amazing verse where the leaders of the tribes tell Moshe that the people are donating too much, more than what is needed.
Rabbi Mordechai Yosef Leiner, better known as the Mey HaShiloach, explains that this was possible because the Israelites were connecting deeply to their motivation to donate, which was to serve God. Because they so desperately wanted to serve God, they kept giving and giving, and it was not difficult for them, something that we almost never see in our lives. Usually, we start off with a lot of passion. Whether that is in a new relationship, a new mitzvah, a new project or hobby. But over time as we become accustomed to this new thing, our passion wanes.
So, Rabbi Leiner recommends always trying to connect back to the original source for starting this new relationship or project, to renew that sense of passion. It is like saying a bracha before a mitzvah, to have us take a second and remember why we are doing this. Some Rabbis in the Middle Ages even felt that saying the blessings became rote after so many years of performing them that they added prayers before the blessing. Something like, “I am about to perform mitzvah X. May it be your will oh Lord that I perform it with a full heart in order to serve you.” And then they would say the blessing and then do the mitzvah.
If something important feels rote or boring take the time to reconnect to the original reason why you are doing it so that you can reignite that passion and go back to doing it with a full heart.