Rashi cites the Talmud in Eruchin 21 which derives from the seemingly superfluous word u,t (it) that they force him to fulfill his vow and bring the korban. I might infer that they force him to agree to bring the korban even against his will; therefore, the Torah states, ubmrk, “according to his will”. How is it possible to “force him” and yet have it remain “according to his will”? Chazal state that he is forced until he says vmur hbt, “I am willing.” This statement is perplexing! What good is it if he is coerced against his will to say, “I am willing”? The Rambam in Hilchos Gerushin explains that coercion applies only to one who is forced to do something that he is not commanded to do from the Torah. One, however, whose evil inclination has incited him to reject a mitzvah and by means of pressure and intimidation has performed that mitzvah, does not fall under the category of xubt, “forced” or “coerced.” A Jew’s inherent desire and goal is to do the right thing and serve Hashem correctly. Regrettably, there are obstacles which arise that prevent him from carrying out his objective. Consequently, when one is coerced into mitzvah observance, what is really occurring is that these “obstacles” are being forcibly removed and the true pure intentions are permitted to take effect.
Horav Aharon Rotter, Shlita, expounds on the Rambam’s thesis. He cites Horav Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler, z.l., who explains the pasuk o,kfk oh,kgd tku oh,xtn tk “I have not despised them nor abhorred them to make an end of them” (Vayikra 26:44), as Hashem’s pledge to maintain Klal Yisrael quantitatively and qualitatively. The “pintele Yid,” the Jewish essence within every Jew, will never vanish. Internally, beneath the many layers and facades of iniquity, the Jew desires to maintain and retain his yiddishkeit. Unfortunately, he falls into the clutches of the yetzer hara, the evil inclination, which assumes an all-encompassing hold over him. Religious coercion, as some would call it, is nothing more than positive reinforcement of the pintele Yid within each Jew. As Horav Rotter writes, “We all look forward to that glorious day when, as the Rambam in Hilchos Melachim states, ‘Moshiach will arrive and coerce all Jews to observe the Torah.'” May we merit that that day speedily arrive!