The Midrash states (Vayikra Rabbah 27:7):
All the sublime good works that the Holy One Blessed Be He will bring about for Israel in the end of days are only on account of the simple call that you gave forth before Me at Sinai, when you said (Shemos 24:4): “All that Hashem has spoken we shall do and we shall listen.”
The Maggid expounds on this teaching in Ohel Yaakov, parashas Emor. He notes that the bulk of our good deeds is the not the result of our own efforts, but rather of the support Hashem gives us. Our only contribution is the simple step of choosing to follow the Torah path. Once we decide that we want to follow the Torah, Hashem gives us the ability to do so – as the Gemara says (Yoma 38b), when a person decides to purify himself, Hashem helps him achieve this goal.
This explanation ties in with an idea I heard in a drashah some time ago. The Gemara says (Berachos 33b): “Everything is in the hands of Heaven except the fear of Heaven.” On the other hand, in our prayers we repeatedly ask Hashem to imbue us with fear of Heaven (along with love of Torah and other good traits). So which is it? Is fear of Heaven in our hands, or Hashem’s? The darshan answered that, in truth, fear of Heaven is also in Hashem’s hands. Our part is simply to form the desire to attain fear of Heaven. If we form the desire, Hashem will take care of all the rest. But there is one condition: Our desire to attain fear of Heaven must be firm, not half-hearted. If we want spiritual greatness, Hashem will grant it to us. But we have to really want it. Forming a whole-hearted desire to obey Hashem’s will is the essence of kabbalas HaTorah.David Zucker, Site Administrator