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FRUMToronto Articles Thoughts for the Week

Inspirational words of Torah from Gedolei Yisroel.


ELEVATING OUR MEAL TIMES
The Torah, in describing the moment of Yosef's 'meeting' his brothers starkly relates: "V'lo Yochlu Echav La'Anos Oso--and his brothers were unable to respond to him, because they were perturbed in his presence.' (Beraishis 45:3) In commenting on the core lesson to be learned from this Posuk, Chazal teach: 'Woe to us from the day of reckoning, woe to us from the day of rebuke....' If Yosef's brothers, who as a matter of Halacha weighed, determined, and acted upon, what they felt was correct (knowing and taking into account their own prejudices), how will we, acting sometimes impetuously, sometimes impulsively, sometimes inanely, respond to the detailed accounting of the Heavenly Court upon the actions, inactions and reactions we undertook, or failed to undertake, during our lifetimes?' A sobering thought. But Chazal, in their great mercy, share this thought with us while we are still alive--so that we can do something about it! On reflection, however, what is it exactly that we can do? After all, we are mere mortals, somewhat above the animals around us, but not even domiciled in the same sphere as the next highest stage of creation--the angels. Perhaps the answer lies in the question itself. Chazal (Chagiga 16A) list the ways in which we are compared to an animal. One of those ways, in which we are involved daily, is eating. If we can, in this very animal-like activity, raise it to what are truly human heights, if we can rise above the animal part of intake and digestion in some way, we should be able to obviate some of the disconcertion and shed some of that shame on the day of Heavenly Judgment. We mean something more than stopping to read the back of cereal boxes (animals don't do that, anyways), or even the front of the boxes (how have so many cereals become 'whole grain'--and why haven't the brochos changed as a result?). Instead, we mean contemplating at these times that **all** of our activities have a purpose if they are done L'shem Shomayim, for the sake of Heaven. If we make a brocha before we eat the food, and after we eat the food, imagine the sanctity we can imbue into the act of eating itself! To analogize, compare this to the obvious difference between putting on/taking off your Tefillin and the actual wearing of the Tefillin themselves, or to setting/cleaning off the Shabbos table to the actual Shabbos table itself. If we could only then spend an additional few moments while eating to also contemplate  that Hashem provides us with all of this and that it simply would not be here without Him;  the incredible make-up of the different food items being consumed--from atom up (could all of this have really come from a 'Big Bang'--or even two?);  that you/others have taken efforts to ensure that the food is Kosher and otherwise prepared in accordance with Halacha;  the complexity of what it took to get this relatively small amount of food to your table and the human labor and planning that were required to help feed little you;  that you can obtain nourishment from tasty food, rather than painful injection;  that you are saying thank you to your body for hosting your soul;  that you are energizing your soul by converting the physical strength derived from food into spiritual strength (isn't it much harder to learn, or not to act agitated, on a Ta'anis then a day in which you have eaten well?);  that this is a valuable moment because you are fulfilling mans purpose in life--sanctifying the mundane... and the special thoughts go on. You can even move on to use this G-d given break from work/daily chores to figure out a shidduch for someone, or think about a practical way to get out of a particular bad habit in your davening. And so, if we take the Heavenly, and bring it right down to us now in our earthly, and erstwhile earthy, activities, we should be in a much better, much less shocked, disconcerted, perturbed, or disgraced position, when that great day of outlook, of clarity, of Heavenly Light , reviews our potential...and our accomplishments! -------------------------- Reprinted with permission from Hakhel MIS


Posted 1/10/2007 12:00 AM | Tell a Friend | Thoughts for the Week






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