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Divine Pastries

Thursday, 25 August, 2016 - 9:17 am

Last week I had one of the most miserable days of my life.  Ok that was a bit dramatic. Nothing terrible actually happened that day, but it was Tisha B'Av the 9th of Av, a fast day, the day we commemorate the destruction of the Holy Bais Hamikdash (Temple/Sanctuary) in Jerusalem as well as other tragic events that occurred on this day throughout history.

Now, I am not a good faster, but this year the misery was on a totally new plane.  Not to make this article all about me (I'm getting somewhere this, hang tight), but I was thinking to myself in my misery; I didn't do much praying (except my obligatory prayers), I didn't do any studying, I kind of just prayed for the clock to move faster and awaited the arrival of 9:19 PM when I could start my recovery, what possible lesson is there in this for me?

The next day after I recovered somewhat from the fast and my brain was functioning again, I realized perhaps the message.  I need food! I can't survive without food! And when I don't eat food, my whole life, my productivity falls apart.  How humbling a thought that is.

But why indeed am I and you so dependent on food?  The answer lies in a verse in this weeks Torah portion "not by bread alone does many live, but by the word of G-d".

Here is how the Baal Shem Tov explains this.  Why is it that a human being is sustained from food?  Being alive means that your soul is in your body and hasn't left you.  (When the soul leaves the body, the body is no longer alive.) So why should physical food keep the soul and body together, or better yet how can that physical food keep the soul and body together.

The aforementioned verse answers this. It's not the bread that sustains us, it's the word of G-d that is in the food. It is the spark of G-dliness that is in the food that is the actual source of sustenance, the physical food is just the packaging.

When we eat food we draw the G-dliness from it into our body, our soul is nourished and the body is thus sustained in life.  And when we don't eat we aren't sustained and we begin to fall apart.

Often times we take it for granted, but try going for a day without food and very quickly we are reminded that there is more to life than food - there is the word of G-d (in the food).



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