What came first, the chicken or the egg? It’s not only a joke, but a deep philosophical question debated by many wise individuals. What was the cause, and what was the effect?

In a similar vein, a question is posed: What came first, the creation of the world or G‑d’s desire for mitzvot? Was there a beautiful world that would be perfected by people exhibiting kindness, or did G‑d desire kindness—and therefore created people who could be kind to one another?

It’s the latter.

G‑d had a deep desire. And He created and sustains the entire universe, in order for people to fulfill His innermost will: the mitzvot.

Just like a car has no opinion or will of its own, but is a vehicle to fulfill the will of the driver, when Jews do a mitzvah, they are completely selfless, fulfilling the reason they were created. That is why the patriarchs were called “chariots”; at every moment of every day, they were concerned only with fulfilling G‑d’s will, riding through life with the subservience of a chariot to its rider.

Tanya: When I use my hands to give charity, they become a chariot, or vehicle, for G‑d’s innermost will.

(Inspired from Chapter 23 of Tanya)