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Thought for the Day: Keeping Mitzvos Lishma

As was mentioned, the issur of milk with meat only applies if both are derived from a kosher species of animal (if the animal was not slaughtered appropriately or otherwise rendered unfit).  Therefore, if a ger tzedek had ham bits and bacon grease stuck in/on his teeth from before immersing l'sheim gerus (so he did nothing wrong when eating it), then he could have a milkshake immediately upon surfacing -- even though it was less that an hour since his last treifa feast.  The question is... why in the world would he do such a thing?  (The ham and bacon, not the milkshake; it's always a good time for a milkshake, after all.)  Why, indeed...

A ma'aseh and the interpretation I heard once from R' Ezriel Tauber will provide the basis for an answer.
A chashuva rebbitzin in Eretz Yisrael needed a delicate surgery.  She refused to allow anyone to perform the surgery except one doctor; he was known as the expert in that surgery (and others), but it took months to even get an appointment.  The doctor was not religious and she didn't have months, but she could not be swayed.  Miracle of miracles, he granted her an appointment and the surgery was scheduled without delay.  As she was being prepped for surgery, she asked to see the doctor.  She told him, "You should know that I if anything goes wrong, I do not hold you responsible; the surgery is delicate, you will try your best, but the success is up to HaShem."  He was very touched.  Then she said, "You should also know that if the surgery goes well, I also don't hold you responsible; that is also up to HaShem, and only up to HaShem."
R' Tauber explained that this rebbitzin was thinking only of "how do I use this situation to serve HaShem?"  This doctor was far from yiddishkeit and was not going to waste his precious time letting some rabbi talk him into t'shuva.  She, therefore, saw her situation as an opportunity to deliver a message of emuna and b'tachon.

So our ger tzedek (not tzadik/righteous, but tzedek/correct) is making a statement:  Perhaps I am converting because I love the idea of a day off, or maybe because I love the intellectual stimulation of learning; I'll never really know.  What thing I do know: I really like ham and bacon.  When I come out of the mikveh, I will know with certainty that I am doing at least one mitzvah completely l'sheim sh'mayim.  I will refrain from eating pork, but not because I don't like pork.  I like pork, but what can I do?  My Father in Heaven said, "no".

You don't get many opportunities like that in life.  Carpe diem -- seize the moment!


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