a. Do not allow a single day to pass without performing a mitzvah, whether it be a “minor” or “major” mitzvah, as our sages said, “Be zahir (careful; scrupulous) with a ‘minor’ mitzvah [as with a ‘major’ one]” (Avot 2:1): the word zahir is an idiom of “They that are wise yaz'hiru (shall shine).” (Daniel 12:3). This means that the soul will shine and glow from a “minor” mitzvah even as it does from a “major” one, for “The Merciful requires the heart” (Zohar II:162b; Sanhedrin 106b). 1 This is a very significant matter, for then you know that you achieved something that day: you created an angel, 2 and “if there be for him an angel, an intercessor…” (Job 33:23) 3

This is indicated [in the verse] “shomer mitzvah (he who guards the mitzvah will know no evil” (Ecclesiastes 8:5). That is, when you undertake the instruction stated, you must stand on guard from morning to evening for the opportunity to perform a mitzvah that may come your way. This is the implication of the word shomer, as in “his father shamar (guarded; awaited and looked forward to) the matter” (Genesis 37:11). It is the remedy [to attain] “he will know no evil,” i.e., precluding nocturnal emissions which are referred to as “evil.” 4

[This general principle] is indicated [in the verse], “The kindness of God is kol hayom (“all day long”; or: “every day”) (Psalms 52:3); that is, one needs perform kindness with God, blessed is He, 5 every single day.

b. Guard the Shabbat properly, with all its details and nuances. This is indicated in [the verse] “Tashev enosh-You turn man back until he is crushed” (Psalms 90:3): tashev is the same letters as Shabbat, 6 and enosh alludes to “[he is forgiven] even if he served idolatry like the generation of Enosh.” (Shabbat 118b) 7

c. At the very least be careful with the reading of the Shema, recited twice daily, to do so without any alien thought, Heaven forbid. 8 To do so is something inestimably great. This is indicated [in the saying], “Whosoever reads the Shema . . . those that cause harm keep away from him.” (Berachot 5a) “Those that cause harm” refers to all harms in the world, whether they relate to the body or the soul. 9

You may find it impossible to pray without alien thought; nonetheless, train yourself to commence [reading the Shema] without alien thoughts. 10