Sunday, January 31, 2010

Enjoy G - d's Creation !


Photo: Tapuz


Rabbi Mordechai Machlis gave an interesting teaching last Shabbat (Erev Tu be'Shevat):

Actually there is a positive commandment to enjoy G - d's creation ! Tasting His fruit, for instance. As we also celebrate on Tu be'Shevat.

What does it mean "enjoying G - d's creation ?"

Of course, each of us has a different kind of understanding of what exactly "pleasure" is. G - d, however, created this world with all kinds of beauties: nature, food, music, etc. Our Mitzvah is to enjoy all this. Otherwise G - d could have created an empty world without any trees, tasty food or drinks. Then we were only doing our Mitzvot and Tikunim (soul rectifications) and that's it. Instead, G - d created a beautiful world and we must enjoy it and thank Him for the creation (as we do with the blessings).

"Pleasure" always means "pleasure within the halachic frame". Enjoying His food doesn't mean that a Jew can run around and eat what he likes. Many people misunderstand the concept but don't realize how much we can enjoy even if we stick to Halacha. Enjoyment also means Judaism and Mitzvot.

Further, "Enjoyment" means that we have to open up and look around in the world. See all the "pleasures" G - d has created for us. Some people like traveling, others love eating. What we should not to is closing ourselves up in our little community and keep separated from anything outside. Should, for instance, a strict chassidic group shut itself into it's backyard in order not to let any "impurity" in ?

Can this "keeping too separate" still be an enjoyment of life ?


  1. Yes, for chassidim it is just that, a greater enjoyment of life, free of any impurities (as if they're communities are perfect), but this itself is the problem. The Gemara says that four people died without sin: Binyamin, son of Yaakov, Amram, father of Moshe, Yishay, father of Dovid Hamelech, and a son of Dovid Hamelech. But the Chasam Sofer is very critical of these four. After asking why we don't hang them in our Sukkahs like the other ushpizin, and why we don't make them the Avos, he says that they were so secluded in their lives, dedicating every moment for kedusha and G-dliness, but they didn't do anything for the klal. They didn't mix with people. When you mix with people you're going to make mistakes and your ruchnius is going to be challenged. But the Avos, Moshe, Aharon... took on leadership roles, and became the leaders of their generations knowing full well that they might have to compromise their spirituality. And this is the problem with the chassidic communities, and some of the Yeshivish communities, as well. So, yes, they may enjoy life to a greater extent then us, but they're not doing anything for the 90% percent of Jews out there who are not shomer Torah and mitzvos. Sorry for all that, but I'm on a kiruv kick these days.

  2. B"H

    I also have my moods.:-)))

    You can do good things in and for your community but one should also include Klal Israel. I also find it a kind of boring only walking around in the same community all over again.

    Furthermore, I see it as a kind of power act as well. When some Rebbes try to prevent their followers to go out. Of what are they afraid of ? That the followers may see others things and rebel ?

    There seem to be lots of aspects and also interests involved.

  3. I had to come back to this comment, because of what I just read. On the pasuk from this week's parsha, "vayichan sham Yisrael," everyone talks that it's in the singular, not plural, because bnei Yisroel were unified. K'ish echad bleiv echod. On this Rav Aharon Kotler says yes, it is to show that Bnei Yisroel was unified, and that we're always unified; that if one Jew has a problem we all have a problem. It's up to each one of us to help our fellow Jew. Rav Kotler's ideology did not exactly conform with these words, because his official policy was "your head belongs in your Gemara." The outside world was cut off. All of those Jews who need help that he spoke of didn't mean much to him in the end. Could you imagine with his Torah resources what he could have done to bring back the many non-frum Yidden in America if he expended even just 10% of his resources?

  4. B"H

    Unfortunately, many frum Jews think that totally secular Jews may be a kind of lost anyway. Why bother if they don't want ? Why should I witness their Averot ?

    People should take into consideration that many secular Jews are actually interested in learning more. Not always in keeping the Mitzvot but at least learning and getting an explanation. Maybe the rest will come later - who knows !

    The great challenge is to deal and get along with all the Jews. I admit that this is very hard but maybe this is what G - d wants.

  5. Yes, this is what He wants.