There are ten matters that we are commanded to remember every day. One who desires mitzvos will make sure to mention them verbally and remember them in his heart. But the main point of them is dependant on understanding the benefit that one derives from remembering them. This was the Creator’s intent when He commanded us to remember these things, for if a person remembers them but without paying attention to their messages, what has he accomplished? Rather, he should heed the messages and endeavor to keep them.
- When remembering the Exodus from Egypt, one should remember the abundant goodness, love and compassion that Hashem had for us, and the intensity of His ability when He manipulated the constellations and broke the iron locks to take us out of Egypt with a “mighty hand and outstretched arm.” We are therefore obligated to serve Him with the obedience of a slave.
- When remembering the Shabbos, one should remember that it is Hashem Who is the Master over all things, for Hashem created heaven and earth in six days. And He bestowed extra love to us by granting us His day of rest, which He did not do for any other People.
C, D. When remembering the Manna in the Wilderness and when remembering that it is He Who gives us strength, one should bear in mind that it is He Who gives us the ability to earn a livelihood and Who gives food to every person as needed for his family. Just as in the Wilderness whoever took more had nothing extra and whoever took less was not lacking (Shemos 16:18), so, too, one who does more business will have nothing extra while one who does less will not be lacking. With this in mind, one will not weary himself to gain wealth, but he will trust in Hashem, for it is He Who makes the poor and the wealthy.
- When remembering the episode of Amalek, one should bear in mind the anguish of Heaven, for because of our sins “the Name is not complete and the Throne is not complete.” One should therefore take this to heart to repent and correct his deeds.
- When remembering Yerushalayim, one should remember it with sorrow, sigh, pray with feeling and beg for forgiveness [that it be rebuilt].
- When remembering the Event at Mount Sinai, one should think about the great love of Hashem and His delight with us, that He adores us like a father; and one should think about the tremendous good He bestowed upon the House of Israel, which is greater than all the favors of the world — that He chose us and gave us the holy Torah.
- When remembering the fact that our ancestors [in the Wilderness] angered the Holy One, blessed is He, one should think about His love and mercy even at a time that we angered Him and about his great patience with us.
- When remembering the plan of Balak and Bil’am which they schemed to do to our ancestors, one should bear in mind to know Hashem’s justice and how much He loves us. This all leads to one effect: it is to arouse our love for Him. For so it is proper, to love one who does kindness with us. Even when we misbehaved and followed a crooked path, He limitlessly showered His kindness upon us. Conversely, it is improper that we be ungrateful and return evil instead of good. Rather, we are obligated to fear and love the Creator, blessed is His Name.
J. When remembering the episode of the prophetess Miriam [when she spoke negatively of her brother Moshe], one should bear in mind the extent and scope of the grave sin of lasho ha-ra (evil speech). And one should conclude that if [Miriam who was righteous and who only spoke about her brother was so severely rebuked by Heaven], then how much more so when ordinary people like us speak derogatively about others for no good reason. To gain a sense of the severity of the sin of lashon ha-ra that of all the sins mentioned in the Torah, the Holy One did not make a memorial for any of them but only for the sin of lashon ha-ra. But despite that, in our many sins, we all stray like lost sheep and we all succumb to this sin. Indeed, our Sages have taught that this sin is more grievous than idolatry, immorality and bloodshed. So one should fear this greatly and put a lock to his mouth. At the very least, while in the midst of remembering this, one should arouse himself and think about the meaning of this remembrance and not merely do it by rote, like people who act only by habit. This last point is a great principle and applies equally to all the mitzvos of the Torah.