I have always loved walking, but recently I have embraced it with enthusiasm. Most days I try to walk two or, hopefully, three times, racking up the miles on my pedometer. It often occurs to me that all this walking has become an addiction. But it’s a good addiction. And it might just be a mitzvah. My pounding the pavement guards my health both physically and emotionally, cushioning the stress that permeates my life.It’s a good addiction

I must admit, though, that there are times when I simply don’t want to walk. Either I’m too tired, or it’s too foggy, rainy or cold. But I do it anyway, forcing one foot in front of another. I do this because I realize that I will feel better, that the lethargy will vanish, the achy muscles will disappear and the sun might just break through, if not in my physical world, then hopefully in my emotional world.

Just like walking, there are other mitzvahs that I’ve embraced with enthusiasm, only to have the passion fade into the background of my daily life. There are periods when the blessings I make are nothing more than the simple mouthing of words, or the rituals are performed without thought. There are also times when I feel overwhelmed by my situation, or I am too tired, or even too lazy or busy, to even want to do them. It’s like I’ve gone dead inside, like I have been thrown from the mountaintop to which doing the mitzvahs has often led me in the past. But like walking, I do them anyway, even if I don’t feel like it, even if the words come out flat and the actions are perfunctory. I do them because our mitzvahs are part of what makes us Jews. They are an opportunity to connect with G‑d. They’re about elevating the world in general, as well as our own corner of the earth that includes our home. They are a part of the marriage contract that we agreed to with G‑d at Sinai, and like any marriage, the everyday stuff takes work.

It goes without saying that the work isn’t easy. But let’s face it: nothing is easy, except perhaps giving up. Our mitzvahs take concentration and a will to do them, and it takes the realization that it is worthwhile, even if our emotional world has been numbed by life’s experiences.

At times I panicked, afraid that I would never reclaim the enthusiasm that I’ve had for Judaism and mitzvahs. But then one day while saying the Amidah prayer, something clicked when saying the second blessing, “G‑d revives the dead.” And the words took on new meaning. Suddenly Will this renewed enthusiasm continue?they weren’t just a promise for the future, but a promise for the present as well. G‑d would revive the dead in spirit; I had only to do my part. Just like walking, I have to continue with the mitzvahs, doing them one at a time, concentrating as I do so; then the promise will be fulfilled. And after a while, it worked.

Will this renewed enthusiasm continue? That’s up to me. G‑d is always there to breathe life into my soul and to help revive my connection to Him and our Torah. I just have to be willing to do my part. And I do it one step at a time, one mitzvah at a time.