"…And you forget a sheaf in the field..."—Deuteronomy 24:19.

There is a commandment that one cannot set out to perform intentionally. When a person reaps the harvest of his field and forgets a sheaf, he is forbidden, upon realizing the oversight, to go back and fetch it. He must leave that sheaf for the poor and indigent to collect. By not going back and picking up the forgotten sheaf, he thereby fulfills a commandment.

Certain opportunities exist that are so sublime that they cannot be evoked through a conscious actThe performance of any commandment draws down holiness into this world, but the commandment concerning the forgotten sheaf elicits a uniquely lofty energy from on High—so lofty, indeed, that man cannot deliberately access it. This is precisely why the performance of this commandment can come about only after the fact, by accident. Its preconditions can't be purposely contrived; they must just happen.

In terms of our service of G‑d, the commandment of the forgotten sheaf teaches us that certain opportunities exist that are so sublime that they cannot be evoked through a conscious act. They are so holy that we do not have the power to make them happen. They have to come along on their own; indeed, without our even knowing that that is what's happening. Only by forgetting the sheaf in the field can one fulfill the commandment of leaving it there.

On a similar note, nobody sets out to become an alcoholic or addict so that he can later be eligible for recovery. Only by becoming an alcoholic can one begin to recover. Perhaps the reason that this is so is that, like the commandment of the forgotten sheaf, recovery draws down such a lofty degree of holiness that it is not something that anyone can purposely set out for. Its spirituality is so lofty and rare that it can only be given to us in a way that we never saw it coming.