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To taste the flavor

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin 

What do we do about boredom? The Torah portion of Beha'alotecha is full of the nation's complaints. In places named Taveirah or Conflagration (representing HaShem's burning anger) and Kivrot Hata'avah or Graves of Craving (signifying the fate of those who had a strong craving for meat), the people express great frustration before Moshe Rabeinu. Our commentators explain that they did not find meaning in what they were doing, did not connect to the wonderful prospect of leaving Egypt, and therefore complained.

Rabbi Yaakov Edelstein once asked what would happen if someone repeated a chewing motion if there was nothing in his mouth. Soon enough, He would get tired. You are invited to try it. It is truly tiring to chew and chew when your mouth is empty.

But what happens when there is a delicious cake in your mouth, the rabbi asked, or some other delectable food? Then we have the capacity to chew well, and to take another bite and then another, and not pay any attention whatsoever to the energy we expend. Why? There is a pleasant flavor that we taste. So too in life. In work, in raising children, in learning, in keeping mitzvot. We do not always experience sweetness in every action, but generally it is worthwhile to find and taste the flavor in what we do. Not to just chew for no reason.

Shavua tov.


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