Michal stood by the open fridge, looking for a suitable snack. Her mother called from the living room, "Michal, dear, would you be willing to go to the grocery shop and pick up a few things for Mrs. Stern, please?" Michal rolled her eyes. She really was not in the mood to help out their elderly neighbor, and was about to claim that she was too busy when she remembered Mrs. Stern's chocolate chip biscuits…

"Okay, Mom", she said as she closed the fridge door. "Give me the list and I'll go in around five minutes". This was becoming a regular chore since Mrs. Stern had had her hip operation, and though Michal did not particularly enjoy the errand, the warm chocolate chip biscuits that awaited her at the elderly widow's home at the end of the trip seemed to make the whole hassle worthwhile.

The following Thursday when the family was sitting together at dinner, Michal's father turned to her and said "Michal, your mother and I have been really proud about all the efforts that you have been going to for Mrs. Stern. Being elderly, alone and ill is an uncomfortable situation for anyone, and the fact that you have been helping her with her errands has really meant a lot to her."

Michal grinned, "Actually, it's only worth it because Mrs. Stern always has some amazing delicacy awaiting me when I get to her house."

Misha, Michal's brother started laughing. "That's not exactly the right intention one should have when doing a mitzva!"

Michal's mother shrugged her shoulders as she helped herself to some salad. "The main thing is that Mrs. Stern is actually receiving the assistance that she needs. Actually, there is something similar discussed relating to this week's Torah portion. We learn how G‑d gave us the Torah at Mount Sinai. The question is, did we accept the Torah of our own free will, or was there an ulterior motive?"

"I thought we said to G‑d 'we will do whatever You tell us,' before hearing what He would command," said Misha. "That sounds very dedicated!"

"Yes, but it also says that G‑d held the mountain over us and said we must accept the Torah," said their mother. "I read this means that it was so exciting to get to Mount Sinai after all the things that had happened, like going out of Egypt and the Splitting of the Sea, that we couldn't think straight. At that point we weren't able to say 'no.' We just had to go along with it."

"You mean we were just drooling for those chocolate-chip cookies," said Michal.

"Yes. But the Sages tell us that when a person does the right thing for the wrong reason, eventually they will come to do it for the right reason. So it's right to do it, chocolate-chips or not!"

"Mmm," said Michal, feeling a little embarrassed at all the attention she was getting. "The truth is, I do enjoy Mrs. Stern's company; she has some really interesting stories of when she was a little girl during the war. Do you think that listening to her stories is also an ulterior motive?"