These days, people are so busy that they always want to be multi-tasking. The housewife dices onions and cuts the carrots while listening to a shiur on Kol HaLoshon with an eye on the baby in the highchair. The businessman is on the speaker phone with a potential client while he’s balancing his checkbook and following the activities of two of his workers in the adjoining room. In mitzvos, we can also multi-task. The Torah tells us, “Vayetzei Yaakov miBe’er Sheva vayeilech charana – And Yaakov left Beer Sheva and went to Charan.” The Beis HaLevi explains that Yaakov was multi-tasking: He left Beer Sheva to fulfill kibud eim, to honor his mother, who wanted him to escape the murderous wrath of Eisav, and he went to Charan to fulfill kibud av, to honor his father, who told him to go to the house of Lavan to find a wife.
The posuk says, “Rabos machashavos b’leiv ish.” This can be translated as ‘There should be many thoughts in the heart of man.’ We should try to get the most spirituality out of everything we do. Thus, for example, when we wash our face in the morning upon arising, we can multi-task many mitzvos. Firstly, we can have in mind, “Tikun likras Elokecha Yisrael – Prepare yourself to greet your G-d, O! Israel,” for we are washing our faces to get ready to appear before Hashem to daven Shacharis. We also can have in mind the mitzvah of v’ahavta lrei’acha k’mocha since we will look clean and presentable for our spouse and our friends. Furthermore, we can have in mind that we are polishing the bust of Hashem. In Napoleonic times, everyone had to have a bust of Napoleon in their foyer and it needed to be kept spotlessly clean. If an inspector came around and it wasn’t polished, you could receive a summons, or worse. Our face is a tzelem Elokim, an image of Hashem, so when we wash it, we are likewise polishing and shining the statuette of Hashem.
Here’s another example. When you visit a sick person, you are fulfilling the lofty mitzvah of gemilas chasadim, doing an act of loving kindness. But you can also have in mind fulfilling the lofty mitzvah of v’halachta b’drachav, walking in the ways of Hashem for Hashem visited the sick when he visited Avraham Avinu on the third day after his circumcision. We can also have in mind fulfilling uvo sidbak, to cleave to Him. The Gemara wonders how we can cleave to Hashem when He is a consuming fire and the Gemara answers, ‘To be like Him.’ “Ma Hu rachum, af atah rachum – Just as He is merciful, you should be merciful. Ma hu chanun, af atah chanun – Just as He is gracious, so you should be gracious.”
Let’s take one more example. You do an honest day of work. You are fulfilling the obligation of your kesubah in which you pledge anah eflach, I will work. You are once again fulfilling v’halachta b’drachav, walking in the ways of Hashem Who supports the world from the mighty re’eim to the smallest lice. You are fulfilling v’simach es ishto, gladdening your wife’s heart by making a good livelihood. And, as the Yesod V’shoresh HaAvodah, zt”l, zy”a, says, every time we live properly, we fulfill the mitzvah of kibud av v’eim because people will say, “Look how responsible he is! His parents raised him very well,” thus bringing honor to our parents.
May we make the most out of everything we do, and in that merit may Hashem bless us with long life, good health and everything wonderful.