Sometimes a task seems too difficult, daunting, or incongruent with our personality that we elect to be passive. We may garner some motivation for action from phrases such as “fake it till you make it,” but still feel resistant because we feel inauthentic or disingenuous to make it by faking it.

In one of the most popular Ted Talks and in her bestselling book “Presence: Bringing your Boldest Self to your Biggest Challenges,” social psychologist, Amy Cuddy, encourages us to adapt the phrase from “fake it till you make it” to “fake it till you become it.” She makes her case for this subtle, yet significant, difference, based on her research on body posture. When people change and “fake” their body posture from reflecting being closed off and timid to an open, power posture (think a Superman pose), they feel more confident, are more willing to act courageously, and even their body chemistry changes. Their cortisol (the stress hormone) decreases and their testosterone (the assertiveness hormone) increases. “Faking” their body posture doesn’t just help them succeed, it actually changes their personality until they “become” it.

As the Children of Israel prepare to leave Egypt, they are given many laws related to the Passover sacrifice, one of which is that it is forbidden to break the bone of the sacrifice. Commentators struggle as to the meaning and depth behind this commandment. Some commentators suggest that not breaking the bones reflects a rushed mentality that was essential for leaving Egypt. People in a rush don’t have time to break a bone and suck out the marrow. They quickly eat the meat and throw away the bone (see Rashbam and Bechor Shor).

Others see a character flaw within the act of breaking the bones. It can be seen as gluttonous and excessive to break a bone to suck out the marrow, which reflects poorly on the eater, is degrading to the honor befitting of the sacrifice, and calls into question the validity of the sacrifice, which needs to be eaten when one is full.

It is within the context of this mitzvah that the Sefer HaChinuch presents his famous thesis that our personality is influenced by our actions (“acharei ha-peulot nimshachim ha-levavot”). Preempting his son’s question as to why the Torah would provide so many laws related to the Exodus, the Sefer HaChinuch explains that the purpose of this mitzvah, and mitzvot in general, is to provide us with actions that inculcate character. By not breaking the bones we are demonstrating our break from slavery and our new existence of freedom. It is not proper, he argues, for people of stature to break bones while eating. Therefore, when exiting servitude, the Children of Israel are called upon to act like royalty, even if they don’t feel like royalty. They – and by extension, we – are encouraged to not just fake it till we make it, but fake it till we become it.