The Torah tells us the rich rewards we will receive if we observe the Torah, and this is followed by a stern warning of the harsh consequences that will result if we deviate from the Torah.

In Ethics of the Fathers, we are instructed to observe the Torah, “not as servants who serve their master for reward, but as servants who serve their master without anticipation of reward.” How, then, are we to understand the verses cited above?

When you buy a new automobile, you receive a “user’s manual” which instructs you how to care for your car so that it functions optimally and for a long duration. If one follows the instructions, one is not being “rewarded”. One is simply getting the best use of the car.

Hashem created man, and gave man the Torah as the “user’s manual.” If we neglect to follow the instructions, we will not be “punished,” but we will simply suffer the consequences of not having cared for the organism according to the Manufacture’s instructions.