I was recently at a Shabbos sheva brachos, and the chosson and kallah arrived almost 45 minutes late to lunch after deciding to go home after kiddush. As a friend of theirs, I met them outside and mentioned that I understood they are the chosson and kallah but it is not correct to make more than 50 people wait to start the sueda. The kallah responded, “We are the chosson and kallah, there are cheshbonos”. I was shocked by that response. There is no such thing as a cheshbon when other people are involved. Are you that much more important than others? Are you so selfish that other people become collateral damage due to your ‘cheshbon’?
Unfortunately, this is the approach many people take when doing mitzvos. How many times have you been whipped in the face by the overzealous Tallis-wearer? How many times have you been stabbed by the aggressive Lulav shaker? How many times have you been caught in front of the marathon shemoneh-esrei-davener? Many individuals are so blinded by their quest to accomplish their mitzvah that they lose all awareness of those around them. Is that the way Hashem wants us to do Mitzvos? I won’t go so far as to deem these actions a ‘mitzvah hab’ah b’aveirah, but perhaps a comment I once heard from my rebbe would properly characterize this type of behavior . He once quipped, “Frumkeit without mentchlichkeit is krumkeit”. Religiosity without proper decency and decorum is faulty. This statement is an accurate description of such mitzvos and should serve as a wakeup call to those who suffer from such a callous outlook in their religious observance.
Hopefully, we can apply this lesson to our lives and maintain proper focus and perspective when performing mitzvos and when interacting with others.