Beha'aloscha: Enjoying the World

One of the joys of having a boy who’s about to turn two, is having a boy who’s about to turn two.


My son was . . . "bothering" me the other day.  “Abba!” “Abba!” “Abba!” just following me around, showing me things, as if he liked me or something.  I couldn’t even walk into the washroom, without his following.  So, I bent down, and told him to go kiss mommy (who was lying on the couch, attempting to relax for ten minutes), a big hug and kiss.  His eyes went wide open, followed by a big smile.  My wife was awake, but her eyes were closed, so she never saw what was coming.  It seems he decided to pull a chair up next to the couch, climb on, and in “WWF-style,” he launched himself off and belly-flopped on my wife.  All I heard was the loud “OOOOOOFFF!” emanating from my wife.


Boys are REALLY fun sometimes.


In this week’s parsha, the Jewish nation complains to Moshe regarding the mun that they ate.  They compared it to the “cucumbers, onions, and garlic” that they enjoyed in Egypt.  In response, Hashem sent a flock of quail to the camp.  They ate and ate, until they started to die.  Why was Hashem’s response so harsh compared to their complaints?


The Chizkuni writes that “cucumbers” refers to the side dishes that they ate.  “Onions” refers to the extra spices they used.  And “garlic” refers to the dips that they used.  The mun . . . it was fine . . . but it was missing the "extras"!


Before Adam sinned, he had no desire for physical luxuries.  Only after he listened to the snake, and his spiritual falling, did he start to have such cravings.  The Shelah HaKodesh writes that the bondage of Egypt was supposed to remove this desire for luxuries.  It was supposed to purge them of this, so they would be better prepared to serve Hashem.  When the Jewish nation started to complain of such things, it was a sign that the bondage did not truly do its job.


Therefore, Hashem gave them such an enormous amount of "luxuries" that they got sick of it and started to desire a more basic lifestyle.


This of course, raises the famous question.  The Gemara states that a person will be punished for not enjoying the world that Hashem gives him.  If so, how does this work with the above lesson?


The answer is quite simple.  What is a person’s direction?  If he wants to use this world to satisfy his desires, he has a problem.  If he wants to use this world in his desire to serve Hashem, all is good.


I saw that Rav Shimshon Pincus was once in the home of Rav Soleveitchik (I forgot which one).  The rav followed a certain stringency regarding fruit, fruit juices, and Trumah (tithes) here in Eretz Yisroel.  Therefore, he never once had one of those fruit-tasting sweets that one sucks on.  One day, Rav Pincus was in his home, and he pulled out one of those candies from his pocket.  He explained he had just found it and confirmed that it was from outside of Eretz Yisroel and therefore caused no problems for him.  He also mentioned the above Gemara about enjoying Hashem’s world.  He then closed his eyes, made a brachah, and put it in his mouth.  After a few moments, he replied (something along the lines of), “Nu, nu . . . it wasn’t really worth the wait.”


It wasn’t so much he didn’t enjoy it, but the point of the story was that he specifically had it in order to enjoy this world.


So, enjoyment of this world is fine.  But HOW and WHY you enjoy this world, is the real question.


Have a wonderful Shabbos!


Michael Winner