Thursday, October 27, 2016

Avoiding Coke, pastry, candy, pizza, burgers and other things that are primarily for physical pleasures

Chinuch (117):The prohibition of offering up leaven or honey… Now concerning the rejection of honey, we would say to the tender children in order to discipline them, that it is to influence one’s concepts so that a person will minimize his striving after foods that are sweet to his taste, in the way that gluttons and guzzlers are always drawn after everything sweet. Thus let him set his heart only on foods that are beneficial to his body and necessary to his sustenance, and that maintain the health of his limbs. Hence it is fitting for every intelligent human being to set his intention in his food and drink not towards the purpose of the tactile sensations of his throat. If people were but wise they would understand this (Devarim 32:29) – that the entire matter of the tactile sense is shameful for them. Then all the more certainly is it not fitting for them to aim for it and to take pleasure in it, but only what nature makes absolutely necessary. It was some of the men of wisdom who wrote that the tactile sense is something shameful for us (Aristole cited by Rambam in Moreh Nevuchim 2:36).

Rambam (Hilchos De'os 3:2): A person should direct his heart and the totality of his behavior to one goal, becoming aware of God, blessed be He. The [way] he rests, rises, and speaks should all be directed to this end. For example: when involved in business dealings or while working for a wage, he should not think solely of gathering money. Rather, he should do these things, so that he will be able to obtain that which the body needs - food, drink, a home and a wife. Similarly, when he eats, drinks and engages in intimate relations, he should not intend to do these things solely for pleasure to the point where he will eat and drink only that which is sweet to the palate and engage in intercourse for pleasure. Rather, he should take care to eat and drink only in order to be healthy in body and limb. Therefore, he should not eat all that the palate desires like a dog or a donkey. Rather, he should eat what is beneficial for the body, be it bitter or sweet. Conversely, he should not eat what is harmful to the body, even though it is sweet to the palate. For example: a person with a warm constitution should not eat meat or honey, nor drink wine, as Solomon has stated in a parable: The eating of much honey is not good (Proverbs 25:27). One should drink endive juice, even though it it bitter, for then, he will be eating and drinking for medical reasons only, in order to become healthy and be whole - for a man cannot exist without eating and drinking. Similarly, he should not have intercourse except to keep his body healthy and to preserve the [human] race. Therefore, he should not engage in intercourse whenever he feels desire, but when he knows that he requires a seminal emission for medical reasons or in order to preserve the [human] race.

Rambam (Moreh Nevuchim 2:40): In order to be enabled to answer this question, we must examine the merits of the person, obtain an accurate account of his actions, and consider his character. The best test is the rejection, abstention, and contempt of bodily pleasures: for this is the first condition of men, and a fortiori of prophets: they must especially disregard pleasures of the sense of touch, which, according to Aristotle, is a disgrace to us: and, above all, restrain from the pollution of sensual intercourse

Shulchan Aruch (O.C. 231:1): If it is impossible for a person to learn Torah without taking a nap during the day – he should take a nap. Rema: ... The permissibility of taking a nap during the day is only if he doesn't take a long one because it is prohibited to sleep during the day more that more than the sleep of a horse which is 60 breaths. And even a short nap should be minimized because his intent in taking the nape is not for physical pleasure but to strengthen his body to be able to serve G d. In general in partaking of all the pleasures of this world he should not focus on the physical pleasure but rather that it enables him to serve G d as it says (Mishlei 3:6), In all your ways you should know Him.. Our Sages explain this to mean that all your deeds should be for the purpose of serving G-d (leShem Shamayim) – even though activities which are optional (reshus) and not a mitzva. For example eating, drinking, walking, sitting, standing, sexual intercourse, converstaion and all physical needs – they should all be done for the purpose of serving G d or something which will lead to serving G d. Therefore even if a person is thirsty or hungry, if he eats or drinks in order to get pleasure – it is not praiseworthy. He should instead have intent to eat and drink in order to live so that he can serve his Creator. Similarly even to sit in the private meeting of upright men or to stand in the place of the righteous or to follow the advice of fair men – if he does it for his own pleasure and to fulfill his desires and lusts – it is not praiseworthy unless he does these things for the sake of Heaven. The same is true for sleeping. It is obvious that even when a person studies Torah and does mitzvos that he should not be involved in sleeping to give himself pleasure, But even at a time when he is exhausted and needs to sleep in or to rest from his exhaustion – if he sleeps for the sake of pleasure it is not praiseworthy.Rather his intent should be to give rest to his eyes and his body for the sake of his health so that he won't get confused in his Torah studies because of his lack of sleep. And similarly concerning marital relations according to the time and frequency that the Torah teaches – if he is doing it for his own physical pleasure – that is disgusting. Even if his intent is to have children who will serve him or to fill his place – this is not praiseworthy. Rather his intent should be that he wants to have children who will serve G d or to fulfill the mitzva of onah (conjugal rights of his wife) – and he does it in the manner of one who is paying back a debt. It is exactly the same regarding conversation - even in discussing matters of wisdom – his intent needs to be for the sake of serving G d or something which will lead to serving G d. The fundamental principle in this matter is that a person should pay full attention to what he does and carefully evaluate all his deeds objectively. If he sees that something will lead to serving G d he should do it but otherwise he should not do it. One who is guided by this principle will constantly be serving G d.

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