Which two human activities do we engage in frequently, on a daily basis and multiple times each day? Activities that sustain us, define us, and even at times challenge us? Activities that are performed for the most part quite by rote? Those are eating and speaking. Our very physical existence depends on consuming edible material while our mental, emotional and spiritual beings are sustained and defined by speaking (interacting). Are the two connected?
Says the 'Sfat Emet' (Rabbi Yehudah Leib of Ger): "It is written (in Torah), 'thus, a human being does not subsist on bread (food) alone, but upon every utterance of God's mouth... (Deuteronomy 8:3). The Ari, may his memory be a blessing (Rabbi Isaac Luria, who in the 16th century introduced the widely studied and appreciated Lurianic Kabbalah), interpreted this verse to mean that 'the vital-force of God's utterance that exists is in food (i.e. same vital-force that created the universe) provides sustenance to the spirit, while the material substance (of food) nurtures the body... (Review further his original writings).'
It is through (the practice of) blessings (over the meal) that we merit to access the inner level of food that feeds the spirit. It goes without saying that when God created foods for human sustenance, God included within it the capacity to feed a (person's) interior as well. And through (including words of) Torah (or blessing during a meal) we are able to access this inner level of nourishment.... For this reason our sages hinted 'when there is no flour (food) there is no Torah (Teaching)...' (Ethics of the Fathers 3:17), as the inner dimensions of flour nourish the soul. And too (the verse continues) 'when there is no Torah there is no flour' (ibid.), as without the force of Torah (sacred speech) the inner levels of food are inaccessible."
After four hundred years of prevailing materialistic (thus spiritually blind) world views in the West (see René Descartes 1596 - 1650) we are now returning to a more nuanced and sophisticated understanding of a tiered and multidimensional reality, a view that Rabbi Isaac Luria had taught almost five hundred years ago (1534 - 1572). With the modern insight of quantum physics about the sub, sub atomic levels of reality we now know that our estimation of food can not be limited the sum of its beneficial molecular structures. A subtle vibrancy in food-stuff interacts with the inner vibrancy of the human consumer. Intentional and verbal interaction with this deep vibrancy unlocks the potential awe-some-ness, health-full-ness, and sacredness that you are. "Eat" and "Speak", the quality thereof, are thus literally and figuratively deeply connected. Words of Torah - sacred teaching and blessing - literally and figuratively do the trick.
May we so be blessed.
With much love,
Tags: Blessings, Quantum Physics, sprituality, Torah
Posted in HLC Article, Spirituality