Food for thought

Before Rav Shimon Schwab left Europe he went spent Shabbos with the Chofetz Chaim in Radin. Shabbos night a group of students came over to the home of the Chofetz Chaim and he said:
We know the mun had the ability to take on whatever taste we wanted it to. What happened when the person eating the mun didn’t think about what he wanted it to taste like?
The Chofetz Chaim answered his own question: Then it simply has no taste.

This gets me every time. It’s one of my favorite d’vrei Torah. If I don’t think about my Avodas Hashem, then it has no taste. If I don’t appreciate the people my family, it’s like they don’t exist. How often does my learning or mitzvah performance seem like tasteless mun?

I know that I go through the motions quite often.  I’m aware of it and I attempt to work on it.  I’m sure that Rav Schwab heard the words of the Chofetz Chaim and it also gave him food for thought.

I often, especially lately, will see or read something and it hits me in the face.  Most recently, it was comic in the Forward that has become a bit of a bee in people’s bonnets.  I chose to contact the artist and got his side of the story.  If perception is everything, then we as a Torah observant community have our work cut out for us.  To eat the mun and not taste it, is up there with feeding the mun to someone else and they only tasting something bitter.

(The beginning of this post was originally posted here)

2 thoughts on “Food for thought

  1. A Simple Jew

    That is a very interesting vort and I appreciated your interpretation as well.

    Taken at face value, how do you think this comment from the Chofetz Chaim can be related to the issue of achila?

    Could it be that the Chofetz Chaim was also noting that there was a certain type of person who thoughtlessly gulps down food and doesn’t realize that without Hashem he would not have it to begine with or the ability to enjoy the taste?

  2. Neil Harris

    I think that you’re on the money.

    While “you are what you eat” is true in terms of Kashrus, I think if we don’t think about what we actually eat and where it comes from (beyond the grocery store), then we are missing an opportunity.

    I’m currenlty semi-involved with a mussar vaad and the topic at hand is thinking about making a bracha.

    Understanding the we are connecting to THE SOURCE of all brachos when saying those words before and after we eat/drink is powerful.

    However, I will admit, that when I started college at YU and had real access to “prepared” Kosher food, I gained more than the average “freshman 15”. To eat 4 slices of yummy Kosher pizza and wash before and make those brachos with, mammish, real kavanah probably is giving into a tayvah that could have been kept under control.


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