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Chapter 31: 1-3
Intentions for the Sake of Heaven

1. [Berochos 63a] states: "Which is a short passage on which the entire body of Torah is dependent? 'Know Him in all your ways'" (Proverbs 3:6). This means that even in the paths you follow for the sake of your physical needs, you must know G-d and carry out these functions for His name's sake, blessed be He.

For example: eating, drinking, walking, sitting, laying, getting up, sexual relations, conversation - all the needs of your body - should be seen as part of your service of your Creator, or as something which leads to His service.

2. How does this apply regarding eating and drinking? It is unnecessary to say that one should not eat prohibited foods. Rather, even with regard to permitted foods, if one is hungry or thirsty and eats or drinks for the sake of his own pleasure, it is not commendable. On the contratry, one should eat and drink with the intention ofderiving strength to serve the Creator.

Therefore, one should not eat everything which is pleasing to the palate, like a dog or a donkey. Rather, one should eat those things that are beneficial to the body's well-being. There are meticulous individuals who, before eating, say: "I want to eat and drink to be healthy and strong in order to serve the Creator, blessed be His name."

3. How does this apply with regard to sitting, getting up, and walking? It is unnecessary to say that one should not sit among jesters, stand in the manner of the sinners, or walk according to the counsel of the wicked. Rather, even when one sits in the forum of the upright, stands in the place of the righteous, and follows, the advice of the sincere - if one did so for one's own benefit, to satisfy one's own desires and wants - this is not praiseworthy. One should do so for the sake of Heaven. Nevertheless, if one cannot carry out these activities for the sake of Heaven, one should not refrain from them. Serving G-d for one's privite interest will ultimately lead to serving G-d for for His sake.

   Intentions for the Sake of Heaven
Paragraphs 4-7
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Halacha-Yomi, Copyright (c) 1999 Project Genesis, Inc.

 


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