Articles by Janet Sunnes

Buddy, Can You Spare an Hour? Restoring Sanctity to Eating…And to the Rest of our Lives


chofetz chaim

This week, I listened to two interesting talks referring to sha’ah, an hour. The first was by Rebbetzin Esther Baila Schwartz. It is on torahanytime.com and is called “The Avoda of Cheshbon Hanefesh.” She speaks about the verse in Pirkei Avos (Ethics of our Fathers) “There is no person (adam) who does not have his hour.” The simple explanation is that each person has his/her own importance, his/her own place in this world and in the “orchestra” Hashem puts together with all of our contributions.

After this, she goes on to give a different interpretation. A person needs time to think and be introspective, to do a cheshbon hanefesh (daily reckoning), as it were. Pharaoh in Egypt reasoned that if he intensified the work that the Jewish slaves had to complete, they would have no time to think about going to serve Hashem, etc.


Read More:Buddy, Can You Spare an Hour? Restoring Sanctity to Eating…And to the Rest of our Lives

My Buddy Restoring Sanctity to Eating … and to the Rest of our Lives, part 27


yetzer

A few months back, I started my article with the following mishna in Pirkei Avos: Rabbi Elazar haKappar said, “Hakin’a vehata’avah vehakavod motzi’im es ha’adam min ha’olam – Envy, inordinate desire, and [the search for] glory remove a man from the world.” (Pirkei Avos 4:28, translation from Bunim’s Ethics from Sinai) This month I would like to focus on another interpretation of “remove a man from the world.” R. Bunim says, “If they [these passions] remove a man from the world, they obviously do not abate as long as the person lives….they will be ‘faithful to the end’ – the bitter end that they hasten.”A strong appetite or desire does not go away. It may be pacified by feeding it one day, but the next day it is back again, a force to deal with and to accompany us throughout our lives. As Rav Yitzchak says (Kiddushin 30b) “A person’s yetzer renews itself daily”.


Read More:My Buddy Restoring Sanctity to Eating … and to the Rest of our Lives, part 27

Count Your Blessings Restoring Sanctity to Eating… and to the Rest of our Lives, Part 26


flowers

Rav Yisrael Salanter was once in a hotel in France. He went into the restaurant and asked for a glass of water. As he was ready to leave, the waiter gave him a bill for 50 francs. Rav Yisrael was surprised, and told the waiter that he had only had water. The waiter explained that the bill included the overhead, the art, the music, the ambiance of the restaurant, etc. Rav Salanter paid the bill and even left a tip. He wrote a letter to his students, saying that now he knew why we recite “…shehakol nihyeh bidvaro,” that everything came to be through His word. We are not making a bracha just on the water; we are making a bracha on everything! (Rabbi Label Lam on parshas Eikev, torahanytime.com)


Read More:Count Your Blessings Restoring Sanctity to Eating… and to the Rest of our Lives, Part 26

Out of This World Restoring Sanctity to Eating… and to the Rest of our Lives, Part 25 by Janet S. Sunness, M.D.


flowers

Rabbi Elazar haKappar said: “Hakin’a vehata’avah vehakavod motzi’im es ha’adam min ha’olam – Envy, inordinate desire, and [the search for] glory remove a man from the world.” (Pirkei Avos 4:28, translation from Bunim’s Ethics from Sinai.)

Ta’ava, inordinate desire or lust, is one of the three things which take man out of the world.
First, what is ta’avah? Ta’avah is an overpowering desire or craving. In the Chumash, the first two places in which the word ta’avah occurs are related to a lust for food. In the story of the Garden of Eden, Eve is tempted to eat from the Tree of Knowledge. Her desire for the food is described as “ta’avah hi l’aynayim,” (translated as “a delight to the eyes”). (Genesis 3:6) Ta’avah is again used in relation to food in Bamidbar. Bnai Yisrael are ready to begin the march to Eretz Yisrael, when the people begin complaining about missing the foods they had in Egypt. This event leads to a plague, is a source of great anger to Moshe Rabbeinu, and is the first of a number of incidents that prevent Bnai Yisrael from going directly into Eretz Yisrael. The place where the incident occurred is called Kivros-hata’avah, because “there they buried the people who had been craving (mis’avim).” (Numbers 11:34)

 


Read More:Out of This World Restoring Sanctity to Eating… and to the Rest of our Lives, Part 25 by Janet S. Sunness, M.D.

Eating Never Became Old-Fashioned Restoring Sanctity to Eating … and to the Rest of our Lives, Part 23


green beans

In the previous articles of this series, I have generally taken a concept from hashkafa, how we should lead our lives, and used it to understand how to better deal with eating issues. This month, we are going to try to learn something from eating that we can apply to the rest of our lives.

In the recently published book, A Divine Madness, from a manuscript written by Rav Avigdor Miller and edited by Daniel Zaslow, my “antennae” for eating-related themes perked up at this statement: “The loyal Jewish Nation had always considered the Torah as eternal, coming from the Eternal


Read More:Eating Never Became Old-Fashioned Restoring Sanctity to Eating … and to the Rest of our Lives, Part 23

on-the-alert-restoring-sanctity-to-eating-and-to-the-rest-of-our-lives-part-14-


“You may be asleep, but the yetzer hara is always on the alert.”
RABBEINU BACHYA IN DUTIES OF THE HEART
In November, I took part in what is called a “white elephant gift exchange” at my workplace. The concept is this: Each participant buys and wraps a gift that is within a specified price range. At the time of the gathering, all the gifts are put in the center. All participants draw a number, and that determines the order of play. Participant number one selects a gift from the pile and opens it so all can see. Participant number two


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