Is there any point in doing a mitzvah, like giving charity or praying, when I am not motivated, have lost interest and don't really understand its significance?


Sometimes our behavior is dictated by social pressure or necessity. But many times we choose to do good things on our own. There can be three reasons why we make that choice:

If you have lost interest then you have just been given an amazing opportunitya) Understanding—We appreciate the significance of a good deed and have fully internalized its importance. We can explain it to ourselves and to others. This mitzvah now reflects a value that we are determined to live by.

b) Feeling—We have developed an emotional attachment to good deeds. We love helping people, or get tremendous satisfaction from teaching others. The passion and love might be a consequence of our understanding, or might simply be instinctive. Whatever the case is, it is our emotion that inspires us to act.

c) Perseverance and commitment—This is when we have lost the spark of enthusiasm. We no longer understand why we get excited. Just deep down we still know that it is important, so we keep going and "force" ourselves to fight apathy and to act.

Although it would appear that the latter is far from ideal, the opposite is true. When our behavior is a consequence of intellectual understanding or a strong emotional feeling, it is not completely selfless. It is "I" that understands and "me" that feels. Our ego is still there, albeit in a positive way. However, when we do something despite the absence of feeling or emotion, there is no self interest—it is being done because it is right. It is driven purely by a commitment to goodness and moral behavior.

So if you have lost interest then you have just been given an amazing opportunity—to do good just because it is good.

Don't lose it and act now.