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Think Before You Eat?

Sunday, 25 August, 2019 - 9:18 am


"Think before you Speak" is a commonly known concept which makes a lot of sense and can help you deliver clear messages to others you are communicating with and not get your foot stuck in your mouth. But have you ever heard of the concept of "Think Before You Eat"?

Well Judaism actually has a lot to say about this and considers it to be a critical component of healthy living.

Why would you think before you eat, and what would you even be thinking about?

The truth is, that the origins of this concept, don't begin with thinking before eating, but with thinking after eating, as it states in Torah portion of this week, "and you will eat, be satisfied, and then bless G-d". This verse implies that eating is not just a mundane pursuit that we should indulge in with no awareness of any deeper purpose or reason, rather as a start, we should learn to be grateful for our sustenance, which all too often we might take for granted. On a deeper level, the thanksgiving can remind us of the very presence of a master plan to the world and that our specific existence is a critical piece of that and we need to be mindful of our role and responsibilities within this plan.

Later on, the sages felt that this same concept, should be applied even before people eat, but less in a thanksgiving manner, which is something which is done once someone has experienced the blessings, rather in a way of recognizing G-d's role in creating the food and sustenance that we eat, and doing so before we even partake in the food. In Judaism, the short blessings that we say before eating bread, wine, fruit, or any other food, fulfill this role, and serve to remind us before we even begin eating, of the deeper perspective of life we should be mindful and aware of, and how the meal that we are about to embark on, is a part of that dynamic.

So technically we actually "speak before we eat" when we say these blessings, but the purpose is truly to "think before we eat". Which is, to reflect as we say those few words, of the larger picture of life and why we are here, and of how G-d is investing in us and in everything around us for a higher overarching goal, and then thinking of how our eating in a balanced healthy way, plays a role in that dynamic and how it might fulfill a role in that, and provide us with the energy to continue to cause good things to happen in the world around us.

So in short, enjoy all the great food and hopefully as we do so, we can also use this eating experience, to be mindful of something much larger than ourselves, the burger, waffle or smoothie that we are about to eat, and instead realize, how every aspect of this universe is there for a reason and part of a master plan, and we just need to make sure that we fulfill our unique part in this plan.

You can read more about this concept and how we apply it over here.

Good Shabbos & Shabbat Shalom


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