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Birchat Hamazon: Higher Eating

The Kabbalists explain that when Adam was first created and charged, “You shall eat from all the trees of the Garden,” (Genesis 2:16-17) eating was not consumption. The food that Adam ate did not destroy it. The food continued to exist on a higher level. This is similar to the sense of smell that does not consume whatever is being smelled. “One who derives benefit from something Holy by smelling it has not broken the laws of misusing Holy items, for he has not taken anything away from it.” (Pesachim 26a)

It was only after Adam’s sin that eating was considered the destruction of the food consumed.

The opening blessing of Birchat Hamazon – Benching – was composed by Moses, as an appreciation of Manna, a perfect food, which was not destroyed when eaten, but elevated.

When we recite this blessing we are raising our food from its status post sin to its status before Adam’s fall.

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