Parsha Mattos contains an interesting triangle of events:
- Moishe, despite knowing that he would leave the world once the war with Midiyan was complete, immediately began preparing to execute the battle.
- The tzaddikim who fought in the battle spared the Midiyanite women, including those who had incited the plague against the klal.
- The tribes of Gad and Reuven asked to inherit land outside of Eretz Yisroel proper.
To summarize, the differences amongst the three groups then are the degree to which they ran to fulfill the mitzvah and their focus while performing the mitzvah. Those whose focus was on the spiritual were rewarded accordingly. We are consequently reminded that not only should we rush to perform a mitzvah but we should focus solely on fulfilling Hashem's will while executing that mitzvah. In doing so, we can avoid being swayed as in the case of the tzaddikim and the tribes of Gad and Reuven.
On a personal note, this week I found myself davening later and later in the morning, cutting the time closer and closer to chatzot. Then yesterday I IMed with a friend of mine, who commented that it's a good thing chatzot is so late these days. I answered that I felt guilty, because let's face it, my primary focus upon getting up in the morning should not be to "prepare for davening" by having a cup of coffee and checking my email, etc. Rather, I should get up and start davening right away. Since I get up and daven immediately when I am working, what excuse could I possibly have to delay davening now that I'm unemployed. Sure, I'm tired; sure, maybe today my davening might be better if I have a second cup of coffee first. The reality is though, I'm supposed to get up and start davening, because even though I am allowed to daven until chatzot, that doesn't mean I should willfully delay my davening.
So this morning when I got up, I davened without delay. B'H'!