The Sages of the Land of Israel teach us that a measure of pragmatism must always be used when dealing with human nature. A person can never be absolutely sure of his true disposition at any given moment.
Some people worship God because they fear the consequences of disobedience. Even one who rejects a government will still abide by its laws.
Others pine for a true devoutness to God never feeling that they achieved it. But there are yet others that are convinced that their worship of God is the product of complete devoutness.
Intuitively, one would think that a person should always strive to worship God out of devoutness rather than out of fear of punishment. But is this the true disposition that a person should have?
The Sages of the Land of Israel advise us: “Do out of Love. Do out of fear”. On the one hand a person should strive to worship God out of Love, but on the other, one should always worship God with some measure of fear.
If you lapse in your Love for God, your fear of God will act as a fail-safe. This is also true contrarily. In either case you will still observe God’s commandments.
The lesson that the Sages of the Land of Israel teach us here is that a measure of pragmatism must always be used when dealing with human nature. A person can never be absolutely sure of his true disposition at any given moment. Therefore, only the right combination of love and fear of God can ensure an unfailing observance of God’s commandments!
May we figure out the right combination of Love and Fear of God for ourselves and ensure the performance of God’s commandments! (Michael Linetsky)