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October 26, 2014 / 2 Heshvan, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Start Living’

Pesach – Season Of Emunah

Sunday, April 15th, 2012

“And you shall remember that Hashem…is the One who gives you the strength to amass this wealth.” – Devarim 8:18

Historically, one of man’s greatest shortcomings has been taking credit for Hashem’s work. Only too often does a man find success and, in his arrogance, feel his power and his might created his empire. The Torah warns us, Remember: it was Hashem who brought all this to be.

While this may sound like a straightforward concept, the Targum adds an intriguing twist. He defines the words, “Hashem gave you the strength,” as “Hashem gave you the advice to acquire that merchandise.”

In other words, if you take credit for prosperity, remember that Hashem gave you the counsel that led to it.

This Targum is difficult to understand. The role of Targum is pshat – straightforward meaning. The Torah said, “Remember that Hashem gave you the strength to make this wealth.” But it is far more than advice that Hashem gives. Hashem created the heavens and the earth. Hashem wrote the laws of physics, chemistry, and biology. Hashem created and maintains all of physicality – from the constellations down to cellular functions. Why would the Targum so limit the explanation to this one issue of Hashem giving advice to acquire merchandise?

The answer to this can be best understood with an example.

A Farmer in the Field

Imagine a simple farmer standing in his field, ready for harvest. Looking out, he sees rows and rows of ripe corn standing tall, stretching as far as his eye can see. He feels joy in his heart as he revels in the abundance of his bumper crop. And then he looks out at his neighbor’s field. Meager. Undergrown. Spotty.

The farmer thinks to himself, “What a fool that boy is. How many times did I tell him, plant corn this year! Not wheat. The rains came late. The frost was still on the ground in April. Any man worth his salt knows wheat wouldn’t grow properly that way. If only he’d have listened to me…”

And the farmer can’t help but feel a sense of pride. After all, it was his wisdom that led him to choose corn, not like that fool of a guy next door who planted wheat.

The farmer, as naive as he is, understands he didn’t bring the rain. It wasn’t his acumen that stopped the pestilence. And it wasn’t he who made the sun shine bright in the sky, providing the warmth and energy the corn needed. Nevertheless, he feels smug because it was he who made the wise decision that brought him to where he is.

This seems to be the answer to the Targum. This was the dor deah, the generation that knew Hashem. They experienced the splitting of the sea. They lived in the desert surrounded by miracles. They saw Hashem on a daily basis. And they understood that Hashem runs the world. As such, they couldn’t possibly take credit for “growing the corn.” They knew that if their flocks increased, it was Hashem’s blessing. If their crops flourished, it was because Hashem willed it to be.

The one area for which they could take credit was their wisdom. “It was my decision to purchase gold and not wood. I thought about it and realized that cattle feed would do well. I came to the conclusion that water rights would be valuable.”

The Targum is telling us this is the only mistake they could have made. Of course, everything is from Hashem – that was never a question. Yet they still could become arrogant, thinking it was their wisdom that brought their success. The pasuk says to them, “Remember: those thoughts were brought to you by Hashem. The reason you made that choice is because Hashem guided your thinking.” The Torah is saying: recognize that even ideas are directed by Hashem.

Seeing Hashem In Our World

This concept is very relevant to us. As maaminim we recognize that we don’t control market conditions. One worldwide depression and we’re all of out a job. So that isn’t a test for us. The challenge is the area that seems to in our control. The decisions we make, the choices we opt for. Real estate or oil? Treasury bonds or mutual funds? Should I buy short? Should I invest in gold now?

The Torah is teaching us that this too is in Hashem’s control. He guides our thinking, putting thoughts into our minds that bring us to where we are supposed to be. It is hard to know why sometimes we have a good feeling about a business opportunity and sometimes we don’t. It is difficult to define why certain people find favor in our eyes and some don’t. Ask a young man going out why one woman catches his fancy and another doesn’t. Granted some of it is natural attraction, but there is far more going on. Often a more attractive, more presentable girl will not sway him, yet “somehow” the other one did.

Ours Is To Question Why…

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

“And Aaron and his sons did all of these things that Hashem commanded through Moshe.” – Vayikra 8:36

After a long and detailed description of the avodah (service) to be done in the Mishkan, the parshah ends with statement that “Aaron and his sons did as they were told.”

Rashi seems to be bothered by the fact that this is obvious. Of course Aaron and his sons did what Hashem told them to do. Why does the Torah see fit to mention it? He answers that it is a statement of praise: they didn’t veer off to the right or to the left.

This Rashi is difficult to understand. It doesn’t seem like he answered his question. Of course Aaron didn’t veer off to the left or the right. This was the avodah in the Mishkan he was performing! The directives came straight from Hashem. Could he possibly think that he knew better than Hashem how to perform them? And if that wasn’t reason enough, the punishment for a kohen deviating in the service is death.

Imagine a man working with high voltage electrical equipment. He has been given clear safety instructions. Make sure the power is off before you switch on the transformer. Make sure you are wearing protective gloves and you are grounded. Wouldn’t we expect him to follow every nuance because of the danger involved?

So what type of praise is it that Aaron followed orders?

The answer to this question can be best understood with an example.

The story is told about an Englishman who visited a farm in Texas in the 1880s. As he approached the ranch, he saw a cowboy herding the cows. He approached and, using an expression common in England then, asked for the man’s boss by saying, “Is your master home?” The cowboy put both hands on his hips and proclaimed, “The son of a gun ain’t been born yet.”

This anecdote is illustrative of a very human trait: we don’t like to be bossed around. In fact, we hate it. I’ll gladly help you, I’ll do anything for you – but ask nicely. Boss me around and forget it. I’m out of here.

This isn’t just a quirk of human nature – it’s a direct outgrowth of man’s inherent greatness.

In the Image of Hashem

Chazal explain that when the Torah tells us Hashem created man in His image, this isn’t merely an expression. Man is both the reason for all of existence and the maintainer of it. Everything physical has a spiritual counterpart sustaining it. Hashem put man into the role of being the one who upholds the spiritual level of the world. His actions, deeds, and thoughts build the upper worlds and sustain the lower worlds. Our eyes may not be attuned to it, but man is the maintainer of physicality. He is more significant than we can ever imagine, more important than anything we can envision. He is a little creator.

While this greatness of soul allows man to reach dizzying heights, it also comes with a liability. It is very difficult for us to follow orders. Even if we know they’re right. Even if we know they’re good for us. Even if those orders are given by the greatest of all greats, by the Creator of the heavens and the earth. We don’t like taking orders. And as strange as it sounds, it is difficult for us to accept commands and directives.

Aaron was one of the greatest men who ever lived, and he had a high and lofty sprit. As such, it should have been very difficult for him to follow orders. For him to “do as he was told” should have been very hard. Nevertheless, it wasn’t. Because he was very humble, he was able to recognize his greatness and act in a bold and innovative manner when called for – yet accept that Hashem was in charge. As great as he was, he was but a servant in front of his Master. He had overcome one of the paramount challenges to man – recognizing his greatness while remaining humble.

Understanding this balance is critical for our growth. The Torah wasn’t given to robotic people who follow blindly without understanding. The Torah was given to us, and we are expected to ask questions. We are expected to delve into the reasoning behind things. We are obligated to strain our minds to understand whatever we can. And yet we are expected to yield to the superior wisdom of our Creator and humbly submit to His directives.

Our is to question why, and yet ours is to do or die.

The new Shmuz book “Stop Surviving and Start Living,” is available in stores, at www.TheShmuz.com, or by calling 866-613-TORAH (8672).

Things I Do And Things I Don’t

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

“You shall salt every meal offering with salt; you may not discontinue the salt of [Hashem’s] covenant from your meal offering; on your every offering you shall offer salt.” – Vayikra 2:13

The Dos Zakainim explains that the reason every korban must be brought with salt is to remind us that just as salt is a preservative that allows food to last longer, so too the sacrifices are permanently ours to cleanse us from our sins.

He then explains why this concept is crucial. If a man sins and gains atonement from that sin, he is clean and will be guarded against committing the sin again. However, if he couldn’t become purified, once he sinned he would repeat the act over and over again. It can be compared to a man with a beautiful white garment. When he first puts it on, he is careful to maintain its pristine condition. Once his garment becomes soiled, however, he is no longer careful about avoiding additional stains. So, too, if a man sinned and that sin remained with him, he will continue committing that sin over and over again. This is the concept that “Once a man sins, the sin becomes ‘permitted’ to him.” That is why the Torah gave us the process of teshuvah.

The Sin Is Permitted

This Dos Zakainim seems to be mixing up two divergent concepts. The first is “naseh ko kiheter” – once a man sins, the act becomes “permitted.” We commonly refer to this as rationalization: the ability to distort reality and actually believe it, the uncanny capacity to do something that is forbidden and with a flow of imagination create a credible, “rational lie” that is good enough for me to convince myself that the act is really not taboo.

But this has no connection to the parable of a man with a clean garment. That is a natural tendency. If my garment is clean, then I will be careful about maintaining its beauty. If it is soiled, I will not be as careful. What connection does that have to rationalization? Rationalization is a completely different concept. It takes a sin and washes it in a coat of white paint so that in my mind’s eye the forbidden becomes permitted. If the sin becomes permitted, then even if my cloak were cleaned from the sin, I would still revisit it since it is, after all, permitted.

The answer to this question is based on a deeper understanding of rationalization.

One of the most difficult parts to understand in all of Creation is how Hashem fashioned man with free will. Free will means the equal ability to choose good or evil. That should be impossible. How do you take man, whose wisdom is greater than that of the angels, and give him free will? Since every mitzvah allows him to grow and every sin damages him, not only should man never sin, he should never even be tempted to sin. Would an intelligent being willfully do something that is self-destructive?

To allow for free will, Hashem implanted into the human a power called imagination. This power allows man to create fanciful scenes and imaginative events and experience them as if they were real. This feature allows man to convince himself of whatever he wishes. As a result, there is no objective truth. There is no standard of measure because man at his whim can create entire theories and systems of logic to justify what he wants – and actually believe them. Now man can just as easily do what is right as what is wrong because he can convince himself it is right. If he desires something, it is no longer a sin. It is no longer damaging to his soul. In fact, it is a mitzvah. Now man has practical free will.

This mechanism is the common form of rationalization – taking a forbidden action and making it permitted. It seems that the Das Zakainim is teaching us that there is another method, one that is far subtler.

The Second Type of Rationalizing

This second form only begins after the sin, after I find myself having done something I never thought I would. I wake up and say, “What came over me?” And then starts the guilt – that voice inside, my holy neshamah gnawing deep within me. And it speaks. “How could you? What’s wrong with you? I’m ashamed of you.” Living with that guilt is very difficult. The easy way out is to make the act permitted – but I’m too smart for that. I know it’s forbidden. If you were to ask me about it, I could quote you chapter and verse about how wrong it is. So now what?

That’s when the second form of rationalization kicks in: “Look, I’m not saying it’s permitted. I certainly not saying it’s a mitzvah – but it’s just one of those things I do. Some Jews wait three hours after meat, some put on their tefillin sitting down, and I eat non-kosher gum. I’m not saying its right, but I do it. But I’m not living in a fantasy world. I know that it’s a sin, but for me, for where I’m coming from, after what I’ve been through – it’s well… you have to understand… it’s OK.”

Where Are The Gedolim Today?

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

These are the reckonings of the Mishkan, the Mishkan of testimony, which were reckoned at Moshe’s request. – Shemos 38:21

Parshas Pikudei begins with a detailed accounting of all of the gold and silver that was collected for the Mishkan. A cursory reading would lead us to assume that while of course a man as great as Moshe was above question, he must have asked for this calculation because public leaders must remove any suspicion no matter how farfetched.

However, the Baalei Tosfos explain things a bit differently. It seems Moshe was in fact suspected of stealing money from the Mishkan. There were 16 Shekalim that were unaccounted for, and Moshe was suspected of having taken them. Therefore, Moshe asked for a formal accounting to remove the suspicion. At which point it was discovered that those 16 Shekalim were actually used in the construction of the hooks of the Mishkan.

The difficulty with this Baalei HaTosfos is understanding how anyone would suspect that Moshe Rabbeinu of stealing. The Mishkan was to be the dwelling place of Hashem on this earth. Monies that were separated for the Mishkan were consecrated and holy. How could anyone suspect Moshe of pilfering those monies? Even more perplexing is that these people knew who Moshe Rabbeinu was. They saw him go up to receive the Torah. They heard the sound of Hashem’s voice speaking through him. From the time he came down from Har Sinai his face shone like the sun. They understood him to be the greatest human ever created. How is it possible that they suspected him of petty thievery?

This question becomes even more difficult when we take into account the circumstances of those times. This was the generation of the midbar – all their daily needs were taken care of. They ate manna that fell from the heavens, drank water from a huge rock that followed them through the desert, etc. – in short, all their needs were taken care of. Their entire focus and occupation was to grow in learning and Yiras Shamayim. It was the ultimate kollel community. If so, what possible motivation would Moshe have to steal the Shekalim?

The answer to this question is based on perspective.

Appreciating Gedolim

The story is told that one day a poor man came to the Chofetz Chaim’s door asking for tzedakah. The Chofetz Chaim invited him in, and offered him a full meal. When the man was finished eating he left. As the Chofetz Chaim was cleaning up, he realized this man had stolen a spoon. The Chofetz Chaim ran into the street after him calling, “Wait, wait, don’t forget the spoon is fleishig.”

While this is a beautiful illustration of the giving nature of a tzaddik, there is as subtle message here: the man stole a spoon from the Chofetz Chaim. How was that possible? The Chofetz Chaim! The revered sage. The teacher of generations. Can we imagine anyone today being lowly enough to steal something from such a holy man?

The answer is that no one today would act that way to the Chofetz Chaim because we have an appreciation of who the man was. But in his generation they didn’t. That stature was something he acquired long after he died. For most of his life, he was viewed as a regular man – maybe a talmid chacham, but nothing extraordinary. And even when the world began hearing of the Chofetz Chaim, it wasn’t as some huge, towering, historic figure. A gadol maybe, but not someone who would shape history.

This seems to be a quirk in human nature. When we live in proximity to greatness it is hard to appreciate the size of the man and we tend to minimize the magnitude. It is far easier to lump him together with other people of the generation and assume he can’t be that much greater.

This seems to be the answer. While the people living at the time of Moshe Rabbeinu knew of his greatness, they still viewed him as a man of their generation. Granted, he went up to the heavens and received the Torah, but he was a human being like everyone else, so who is to say he didn’t just pocket some of the Shekalim? While later generations wouldn’t in their wildest dreams suspect such a man, to those living in the times, such historical perspective wasn’t there, and they couldn’t see him for the lofty giant he was.

This concept has particular relevance to us as we look at the leaders of our generation and say, “Where are the gedolim today”? But we aren’t the first to utter that cry; it has been expressed by every generation since Har Sinai, and will continue through the generations. What we see from the Baalei Tosfos is that this sentiment was expressed even with regard to Moshe.

The Mercy Of Hashem

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

“Speak to the Jewish people and they should take to Me terumah; from each man whose heart so motivates him, you should take My terumah.” – Shemos 25:2

The entire Jewish nation – every man, woman, and child – experienced the revelation of Hashem on Har Sinai. They saw Hashem as clearly as humans can, and they attained a level of prophecy. Now they were being offered one of the greatest gifts imaginable: Hashem Himself was going to dwell among them. They were going to experience Hashem’s presence regularly, and have the opportunity to participate in the building of the greatest edifice ever created – Hashem’s dwelling place in this world. The gold, silver and copper, the wood, hides and oil will all come from the people themselves: “from each man whose heart so motivates him.”

It should come as no surprise that the people offered their donations to the Mishkan with zeal and enthusiasm. After a short while Moshe had to turn away more donations; there was more collected than could be used.

Interestingly, the Ba’al Ha’Turim explains that when Hashem told Moshe to ask for contributions, He told him to ask in a gentle tone. Since it means people will have to part with their money, please speak softly.

This Ba’al Ha’Turim is very difficult to understand. Why would Moshe have to make this appeal in a gentle manner? This wasn’t a tax the people were being forced to pay. It wasn’t some despot demanding an exorbitant bribe. This was a moment in history – the people of Israel were being given this great opportunity to be a part of building the house of Hashem, and they understood it for what it was. Why would Moshe have to speak softly? Surely they would give willingly.

The question is even more pointed because the Jewish people were fabulously wealthy. Hashem promised Avraham Avinu that when his children would leave bondage, it would be with great riches. Right before the Jews left, they went to their Egyptian masters and “borrowed” gold, silver, and all types of valuables. They despoiled Mitzrayim, walking out with wealth that had been gathered for hundreds of years.

They were being offered the chance to convert some of that wealth into one of the greatest honors given to man – to become a builder of the Mishkan. If every contribution was given willingly, and the entire generation had enough to give, and it was a great honor to give, why would Hashem be concerned that Moshe gently coax them into giving?

The answer can be best understood when we focus on man’s relationship to his Creator.

Hashem’s Relationship to Man

The Chovos HaLevovos explains that if you to take the most generous, loving person that you have ever met and then multiply that mercy by ten thousand ten thousands, you won’t begin to reach the love Hashem has for each of His creations. The one concept that must be firmly embedded in the mind of every Jew is that Hashem is more concerned for his good than he is, and Hashem loves him even more than he loves himself.

This love manifests in many ways. Chazal tell us that Hashem has mercy on the money of Yisrael, as if to say Hashem feels badly that the Jewish people have to spend money, even on mitzvahs. Granted it is for their good, and granted it is the greatest investment they could ever make, but, it means parting with things valuable to them, and if it could be, Hashem feels badly. Hashem is the Giver, always wishing to share of His good, to give more, not to take. This seems to be the answer to the question on the Ba’al Ha’Turim: There is no doubt the chance to contribute something toward the Mishkan is a great honor. Anyone whose donation would be accepted would bear a mark of nobility he would cherish for years. But it involved his giving. He had to part with some of his wealth, and Hashem, if it could be, felt badly.

It was as if Hashem were saying: “It must be difficult. You have that precious gem, that beautiful gold. I feel badly even asking.” Even though the act of giving had taken something fleeting and turned it into the greatest investment, something that would remain with them for eternity, at the moment the person gave over those stones, it was difficult on some level. Hashem felt his pain and said: “Moshe, please be gentle with them.”

This is a fantastic illustration of the extent of Hashem’s concern for us, and the extent to which He is sensitive to our feelings. When we focus on the loving kindness Hashem showers on us daily, we grow in our apperception of that love, and then reciprocally we feel an overwhelming sense of appreciation and love for our Creator.

Our Creator’s Infinite Love

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

“When a man steals a cow or a sheep and he slaughters it or sells it, five cows shall he pay for the cow and four sheep in place of the sheep.” – Shemos 21:37

In Parshas Mishpatim, the Torah delineates various prohibitions and punishments. With regard to stealing, we see something unusual. If a man steals a cow, he must pay back five times the amount he stole; however, if he stole a sheep, he must pay back four times the amount. Rashi is troubled by the difference in punishments. He explains that the difference lies not in the crime but in the mental state of the thief.

When a man steals a cow, he walks it out of the barn. When a man steals a sheep, he has to place it on his shoulders to carry it away, and this degrades him. After all, to put a mere animal on one’s shoulders is a humiliation to the greatness of man. Since the thief is already suffering the embarrassment of carrying a sheep around, the Torah considers it as if he has already received part of his punishment, so his payment is lessened.

The Rosh HaYeshiva, Rabbi A.H. Leibowitz, zt”l, commented that this Rashi is difficult to understand as it is hard to imagine this man is preoccupied with his embarrassment. He is a common thief, engaged in the act of breaking and entering. He probably isn’t even aware that carrying a sheep is considered demeaning, and he certainly isn’t thinking about it as he makes his escape.

As an illustration, one of the tricks of a good pickpocket is to bump your shoulder as he reaches in to steal your wallet. Since the nervous system can only process one stimulus at a time, when he nudges your shoulder, your attention is diverted to that area and you don’ t even feel your wallet being lifted out of your pocket. So too this thief. If he is thinking about anything other than not getting caught, it would be about tonight’s dinner that he is happily carrying home with him. Why would the Torah consider part of his punishment already received when it is unlikely that he even feels that embarrassment?

The answer to this question can best be understood by focusing on our relationship to our Creator.

Hashem Loves You More Than You Love You

The Chovos HaLevovos explains that one of the most basic facts in my relationship with Hashem is that He loves me more than I love myself. Hashem is more concerned for my good than I am. Hashem looks out for my interests more than I do myself.

This concept is the foundation of bitachon. Without it, trusting in Hashem is foolish. How can I rely on Hashem if He doesn’t care about me? How can I trust in Hashem if I am irrelevant in to Him? The only way a person can develop a true reliance on Hashem is by understanding that Hashem loves every one of His creations to an extent that is beyond human comprehension. And because of Hashem’s infinite mercy and kindness, even if I do not deserve something, Hashem may give it to me anyway.

The Rosh Ha’Yeshiva, zt”l, explained that this seems to be the answer to this Rashi. It may well be that as this thief is making his escape, he is unaware of the embarrassment that he is suffering, nevertheless it makes an impact deep within him. He is a human as all other humans, and was created in the image of Hashem. As such, he has the same sensitivities and delicate nature of all humans. He was created for greatness, and there is a part of him that cries out in pain when a mere animal is placed over him. Granted, while he is engaged in this act, he might be oblivious to the pain. But the pain is there, and it leaves its imprint, even if he is unaware of it.

This is a powerful illustration of Hashem’s compassion – even for a man who has deadened his heart to pain. The heart still feels it, and Hashem considers that pain significant and counts it as partial punishment for the crime.

This Man Isn’t a Tzaddik

This point becomes even more salient because this man is no tzaddik. The Torah is describing a man who has veered off the Torah’s way. He is sneaking into his neighbor’s barn and committing a crime. Even so, Hashem has mercy on him and feels his pain, even more than he does himself. This stems from the love Hashem has for each of us. The extent that He cares for our good is even greater than the extent we care for ourselves.

While this concept has many applications, it has particular relevance when we come to that rude awakening of “I have messed up.” At various points in our lives, we will reach the clarity to understand that we are human, and by design we have flaws and imperfections. With that recognition should also come the desire to correct our course and do teshuvah. Being aware that Hashem has infinite love and patience can allow us to embark on that most difficult task given to the human: growth, change and ultimately returning to our Creator, who loves us more than we can ever imagine.

Learning To Enjoy This World

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

“And He does kindness to thousands of generations, to those who He loves and those who guard His mitzvos.” – Shemos 20:6

In the Aseres Ha’Dibros we are told Hashem pays back the wicked for four generations and the righteous for two thousand generations. Rashi explains the ratio of two thousand to four comes out to be five hundred to one. This teaches us the measure of good to bad in the world is five hundred to one.

This Rashi is very difficult to understand. If the Torah is teaching us Hashem created the world with an operating principle that the good outweighs the bad by a measure of five hundred to one, this doesn’t seem to be consistent with reality.

Granted, life is good – but can anyone say the “pleasures” outweigh the “pains” five hundred to one? Five hundred to one means the rough spots in life are so overshadowed by the enormity of good that they are almost nonexistent. For every headache I endure, I enjoy five hundred times the pleasure. For every stomach cramp I suffer through, I benefit from five hundred measures of delight. The problem is this just isn’t the way life is. How do we reconcile this Rashi with reality?

A Perspective on Pleasure

If we study the world, we find many features that have no functional purpose; if the world were created strictly from a practical standpoint, they would not be there. For example: tastes in food. Food is something we need to maintain our energy levels and health. If its only function were nutrition and nothing more, then all food should be taste like soggy cardboard. Yet it doesn’t. There are so many variations, each with its own unique flavor, texture, and aroma.

Why did Hashem create food this way? Why not make it all same? The reason is for our pleasure – so that eating, which we have to do, shouldn’t be a chore but in fact be delightful. Taste is something Hashem added solely for our benefit – for us to enjoy.

An awful lot of thought went into creating the different foods we eat. Rabbi Avigdor Miller, zt”l, described an orange: When you peel it, you find wedges inside. If you look closely, each of these wedges is surrounded by a thin membrane. When you pull back the membrane, you see many tiny sacs. Inside each of those sacs is the juice of the orange. Why did Hashem created an orange in that manner, with thousands of little sacs? So that when you bite into the orange, the taste is released in a burst of flavor.

Hashem created those sacs so that there would be another dimension to our enjoyment. The sensation of eating an orange would be different without this feature. It still would have tasted delicious, but this is an additional aspect Hashem wanted us to enjoy, so He designed the orange that way.

Did you ever wonder why apples are red on the outside? Hashem made apples red because it is nicer to look at, and that makes the process of eating an apple more pleasing. The presentation adds much to the enjoyment of the dish. So Hashem designed foods to have eye appeal to enhance our experience of eating.

What happens when you bite into an apple? You don’t get that burst of flavor you got when you bit into an orange. You get a crunch. Why is that? Why not design all fruit the same? The reason an apple is crunchy is because it is fun to crunch on food. So when Hashem made apples, He designed the cells to form hard walls, so that when we bite into it, we get that crunch. It didn’t have to be that way. It was designed that way so we should enjoy it.

What about aroma? Each of the assorted foods not only has varied tastes and textures but markedly different smells, which contribute to our total enjoyment. When Hashem created food, He added this dimension of wonderful aromas to even further enhance our taste experience.

The food we eat comes in so many assorted flavors and textures, each one appealing to a different element of our tastes. Hashem re-planned and created all of this for us to enjoy.

And this is but one example of countless of features Hashem created strictly for our enjoyment. Hashem created, sights, sounds, textures, colors, depth and so many other features in this glorious world so that our experience here should be more pleasure filled. If the world was created for practical reasons only, all of this wouldn’t have to be. But Hashem put it all here, for us to enjoy.

Yet how often do we actually take the time to enjoy the foods we eat? How much attention do we pay to the sights we see? It takes training and concentration to consciously enjoy the life we lead. If we do, we will see a tremendous amount of detail and concern put in for our benefit. And we will see a tremendous demonstration of the kindness Hashem shows to man.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/learning-to-enjoy-this-world/2012/02/08/

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