Let’s touch on something we’re drawn to day after day which often presents a
spiritual challenge: food. Assuming the food in front of us is kosher, that
it hadn’t been stolen, that we aren’t responsible for doing something else
at the time, and given that today isn’t a fast-day, we’re encouraged and
even obliged to eat if we’re hungry.
But the soul striving for piety would want to make do with the simplest of
foods, he or she wouldn’t want to fuss with it and would only want to eat
and go on serving G-d other ways. The rest of us, though, would spend more
time choosing what we’d eat and would fuss with it. Let’s see how Ramchal
would convince us that it’s just not worth the bother.
He underscores just how short-lived the pleasure we’d get from eating
something good-tasting is -- it only lasts from the time it takes to pass
“the length of your gullet … (then go to) your stomach” when “it’s
Given that, he goes on, doesn’t it stand to reason that “you’d be just as
full eating stuffed swan as you would be eating coarse bread?” So why bother
making the extra effort and taking the time and energy away from doing more
important and holy things?
Then consider the more serious risks. Just think of all “the diseases you
could expose yourself to by your diet”, or of “the feeling of heaviness or
dull-mindedness” that comes from eating too much rich food. All that being
true, aren’t the “disadvantages real”, “serious and long-lasting”, and
aren’t “the apparent benefits a sham” and “short-lived” at best? So, how
could any “intelligent person endanger himself for the minute benefits that
might accrue … through (eating) them”?
Take this all to heart, be honest with yourself and “free yourself from the
entrapment of all the foolishness” that comes from caring too much about
food, and “you’ll no longer be seduced by its so-called pleasures”. Do that
on a regular basis and you’ll eventually train yourself to only “take from
the world what you absolutely must” and no more.