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In יסוד העבודה Helek Aleph Perek Aleph, it says

ר' אלעזר בר' צדוק אומר, עשה דברים לשם פעולתם ודבר בהן לשמן

Any good translation, or explanation? Even though I know these words, the sentence doesn't seem right, like I'm missing something.

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2 Answers 2

The phrase means "Do things (good deeds) for the sake of their actions (do mitzvos because we are commanded to do them, not for the sake of receiving reward or accolades), and speak them (words of Torah) for their own sake (learn Torah because we are commanded to do so, not for the sake of receiving reward or accolades)".

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Literal translation: "Do things for their results, speak of things for their own sake."

R' Elazar is breaking down the two approaches to Torah observance i.e. "Torah lishma", or "good works". He says that Torah observance should be undertaken for the results for example eating matza is not about getting a k'zayit into your throat, it's about that k'zayit reminding you. Giving tzedaka is not about transferring money, it's about alleviating poverty. On the other hand, Torah learning should be done lishmah. That is, we should learn Torah because God wants us to learn Torah, and the obligation doesn't stop after you've finished tanach or know enough halacha to get through your halachic obligations or at any other point.

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