Not yet available on the Nishma website
1) Some may wish to challenge me in regard to my statement about the overall significance of action by referring to the fact that God rewards someone, in various circumstances, for intent even if an action is not concluded. This is, in fact, a principle of Torah albeit within certain parameters. This idea, though, does not challenge what I was stating. I was not discussing reward, especially God's evaluation and response to us. This is the province of God to which I am totally unable to comment. In that realm, motivation, effort and intent matter -- especially in that God knows the truth. In the human realm, though, the basic yardstick of propriety we have is still action. Intent is not a factor that we can objectively employ.
2) It is also interesting to note how the same concept is expressed in the discussion regarding milah. Notwithstanding the great joy in the performance of this fundamental mitzvah, the pain of the child in being circumcised, and even the pain in the father in seeing his child hurt, is noted...and with halachic significance.