The Torah was given to man in order to enable him to utilize the physical world in the service of Hashem. A Jew is not supposed to live an ascetic life, severed entirely from the physical pleasures of the material world. Hashem placed the Jew's Neshamah [soul] into a physical body, fusing the holy with the mundane and charging him with the obligation to uplift and sanctify his physical existence and the physical world in which he lives. The Torah enables the Jew to sanctify the physical world, in contrast to the Nochri [gentile] who does not have the ability to uplift the physical world and infuse it with spirituality. The Nochri's spirituality is divorced from the physical world. For example, the Nochri's spiritual leaders practice celibacy, while the Kohen Gadol is obligated to be married when he performs the holiest service on the holiest day of the year (Yoma 1:1). It is therefore logical that on the day on which we received the Torah, which teaches us how to utilize the physical world in the service of Hashem, we are to partake in physical pleasures of food and drink. (Heard from Rav Kalman Weinreb, shlit'a.)While this is of course an exaggerated, stereotypical view of Christianity, seeing is as "otherworldly" and "ascetical" -- clearly there are many tendencies with the Catholic Church that give these comments some truth.
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
We must sanctify the physical world
From Daf-insights from The Dafyomi Advancement Forum