Animal Food

Avraham Tzvi Schwartz

A person who desires animal food is, in a certain way, himself an animal.[1] Since his desires do not match those of other people but rather those of animals, this makes him -- in terms of his essential self -- an animal.

Similarly, if a persons desires, his longings and wants, match those of people who live on lower levels, this indicates that he too sits at such a level. For, those on higher levels aspire to different sets of treasures and pleasures; they dream of being wiser, spiritually stronger, generous and noble. Their highest wish is to be angels.

Therefore, this is what we need to ask ourselves:

(1) What rating do our desires receive? What do we really want from our lives? And (2) can we do something to upgrade this?

Two Desires

Two desires influence our desires -- (1) Hashem's desire, and (2) the Other Side's desire.

Hashem's desire again divides into two -- (1) He wishes to give us all types of goodness and pleasure, beautiful, happy living, and (2) He wishes that we earn these rewards by adopting a beautiful, noble lifestyle -- the beautiful, noble lifestyle Hashem Himself prescribes for us.

The first of these two, receiving the riches that make for goodness and pleasure, is something we leave to Hashem. We need instead, to focus on fulfilling the second desire -- living as Hashem wants us to live. For this, we declare: "Our desire, Hashem, is to do Your desire."

The Gemara relates that Rav Hamnuna, on finishing his prayers, would say, "Lord of the Universe, our desire is to do your desire; but what stops us, the yeast in the dough ...[2]

This "yeast in the dough" refers to the Other Side's desire. His wish is that we give our days and thoughts to attaining riches and prestige, while, at the same time, we indulge in lustful luxury, laziness and depression.

Mostly Hashem's influence on us mixes with the Other Side's influence. We think of these two desires as one -- one dough. What we need then, is to separate the good from the bad, that we may enhance the one that is higher, and control the one that is the lower.


[1] Rav Simcha Zissel Ziev, Sefer HaKaton, Siman Beis

[2] Brochos 17a

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