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Shabbat Parashat Noach 5772

Ein Ayah: Proper Level of Respect of Food

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Berachot 7:42)

Gemara:  Ameimar, Mar Zutra, and Rav Ashi had a meal together. They brought before them dates and pomegranates.  Mar Zutra took a serving and threw it before Rav Ashi. They said to him: “Don’t you agree with what it says in a baraita that one does not throw food?” He answered: “That is talking about bread.” They asked him: “But there is another baraita that says that just as we do not throw bread, we do not throw foods.” He answered: “It depends if it is a food that will get spoiled or a food that will not get spoiled.”


Ein Ayah:  The proper mode of behavior of one who is complete in his characteristics is that objects related to his necessary sustenance will be beloved to him, and he should not cause them to be despised to him. Therefore not only should he not cause bread, which is designed to provide man with his basic needs, to be disgraced, but he should not even throw it. Rather he should treat it with civility and love.

Extras are a different story. One should not disgrace them or cause them damage because a modest quantity of them is good. We find that sweet things “get the tongue accustomed to” words of Torah (Yerushalmi, Taanit 4:50). Indulging the senses can broaden one’s thoughts, as pleasant things in the right amounts can put the mind at ease. However, while one should not disgrace luxuries, he should also be aware that if one is not careful in how he exposes himself to them, there is a tendency for them to turn into necessities for him. If he becomes enslaved to them, this will cause him to lose his true state of completeness, as happens to most people.

Therefore, it is proper to teach that one is allowed to throw foods other than bread, because sometimes it is proper to leave them and to look at them with a measure of contempt, in contrast to becoming “addicted” to their pleasantness. However, Heaven forbid for one to do something to physically spoil them, because all of these are made by Hashem and bring great benefit to those who use them in a measured manner. We can apply the p’sukim: “A time and a proper manner the wise heart will know” (Kohelet 8:5) and “I fed him from the fats of wheat, and, from a stone, I satiated him with honey” (Tehillim 81:17).


Focus on Luxuries at the Time of a Wedding

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Berachot 7:43)


Gemara:  We draw wine in pipes before a groom and bride and throw parched grains and nuts in the summer but not in the rainy season; loaves cannot be thrown even in the summer.


Ein Ayah: The pleasantness of joy is one that everyone should want to have in his life. However, it should be contained within boundaries because when it is given free rein, the joy can turn into frivolity that brings on sorrow. The proper approach to arriving at the right balance, which brings one the light of life, good characteristics and self-completion in wisdom and fear of Hashem, is to reject a life of luxuries. That is why the wine is drawn in pipes, which represents limits, as we also find in the teachings of kabbala.

Throwing the nuts is a sign that, in his eyes, they lack importance. We throw those foods that represent unnecessary extras so people will realize that they are not important and strive for happiness in moderation. In limiting the importance of foods that make one feel enjoyment in life one should not lower the importance of life itself. Therefore, the place of necessities should not be minimized, and thus one should not throw loaves.

These ideas of the right approach to joy should be made from the beginning of the time that a person builds his life and family through marriage. We want the couple to build a home that will be a pride and joy to the whole nation, so that they can have offspring who are straight and righteous, by planning their steps in a thought-out manner.

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