Monday, March 22, 2010
There’s an old expression dating back to the 1600s, ‘The Proof of the Pudding is in the eating’ which was later shortened to ‘The Proof is in the Pudding’. In the ‘old days’, making pudding wasn’t like it is today where we just open a package and add milk. It was cooked slowly on top of the stove so the proper consistency and flavor were often difficult to attain. Only once it was eaten would it be put to the test. Over the years, this saying has come to mean that the results are what counts; that something can only be judged once it has been experienced.
With modern technology and scientific advancement, many people today are often skeptical of believing in anything intangible without proof. They want answers before they commit to taking on the yoke of Judaism and its regimented laws. Proof does exist, but it is most evident to those who have already devoted themselves to a life of spiritual pursuits. Like the pudding, until one tastes the sweetness of the Torah, one will not fully understand what they are missing nor can they evaluate it properly.
Too many of us have become accustomed to living our lives for our own pleasure. Our days revolve around trying to satisfy our thirst for happiness, a goal which continues to elude us. Until we internalize that this desire cannot be satiated simply through the physical world we will never attain the ultimate fulfillment. It is actually quite impudent to expect everything to be handed to us on a silver platter and give nothing in return. When G-d created the world, he also provided us with a clear set of instructions. If we think we can play by our own rules, we are cheating no one but ourselves.
A perfect example of proof anyone can observe is with us every day. Since we all eat fruits and vegetables, just stop for a moment and think about how each produce selection is in season at the precise time we need the specific nutrient. During the winter when our bodies require vitamin C to fight off cold-weather viruses and build resistance, oranges, grapefruits and other citrus fruits are bountiful. In the summer when we crave water to quench our thirst, watermelon, berries and plums are ripe for the picking. Carrots, loaded with Vitamin A and potatoes, rich in carbohydrates, Vitamin C and B6, are both important staples in our diet and are available all year round. The list goes on and on.
HaShem, in His Infinite Wisdom, designed the world and all its workings solely for our benefit. Like the song which took the words from Ecclesiastes (Kohellet) Chapter 3, “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven”. Not only are the necessities of our existence provided for us at the appropriate time, but everything has a specific and Divine function. It’s important to remind ourselves as we go about our daily mundane chores such cooking and eating, that it is all for the service of HaShem. The Holy One, Blessed be He, provides for all of our needs so we can fulfill His Will with a satisfied body and joyful soul.
Every task we perform can and should be done for the sake of Heaven. How we eat, what we read and the words we speak should all exude holiness. When we shop for food, have relations with our spouse, do the laundry or go to work, our fundamental objective is to enable us to perform our obligations to our Father in Heaven and to elevate those acts from the physical to a spiritual plane. By saying a bracha (blessing) on whatever we are going to eat, we not only benefit our own soul, but elevate the holy spark in the item we are eating by bringing the chicken, the apple or the cucumber to a higher level.