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Haggadah: Karpas Five: Rav Kook

Transcribed and prepared by Anna Beller: Rav Kook says, that first you have to understand the difference between the end the goal or the object and the means. Olam Habah is the object our aim, the Means to get there are the mitzvoth. He says this actually happens with food.


Your body burns energy, calories, something you have the calories, your body is burning the calories by using them so you need something that’s going to give you calories, food is calories, your object you need to have that energy that calories can burn, drink is less a source of calories as it is to get enough fluid in your body so that all the calories and nutrition can get into your system and flow. Water’s not a source of calories.

He says its interesting to understand and goes step by step. First of all the only way the object can be good is if the means of achieving the object are good. Lets say I have an object I want to eat food but I steal the food so the means of getting the food is wrong so on a spiritual level the means is evil and therefore the object of it is also not good, I’m not allowed to make a bracha on it. I want to make a sacrifice I love God and want to sacrifice it I steal someone cow, that’s not a sacrifice God hates those sacrifices, you’re means are bad so the object is bad. You drink whisky, that doesn’t help you with your food, its going to burn you up and dry you up , it doesn’t help like water. It’s not only the need that needs to be good its also the inside that needs to be good so it can help. Of course even if the aims are good but the object itself is wrong, but it’s certainly more so wrong.

So lets say I see someone eating a Reese’s peanut butter cup, I don’t need it but I am so jealous that he has it, I don’t need it I’m not hungry, but I want that Reese’s, so why isn’t he sharing it with me? So my will is compelling me to eat that Reese’s even though I don’t need it, I’m being forced by my will. What’s my will? I want what you have. You have one and I want one. So what’s pushing me to eat that thing is a destructive will, I’m being compelled to eat that food. On a spiritual level, since that eating is a result of compulsion and force its not only not nutritious an sustaining you on a spiritual level its hurting you on a spiritual level.

However let’s say I want to eat something not because I’m forced, its not that I’m jealous or starving, or that I Love Reese’s, but I want to enjoy it. God in his unbelievable kindness, compassion and love for me created Reese’s peanut butter cups.  And I want to enjoy one of these greatest things in all of creation because I love God and want to experience it. A banana, I know when I peel a banana and the peel just comes off, and I know what the texture and flavor is like and I can eat it without getting dirty. Its an unbelievable eating, its not because I’m forced to eat it from starvation, jealousy or anything, or my mother is forcing me to eat the banana, I’m eating the banana because I love the banana and I love the feeling the banana gives me. That’s called an entirely spiritual eating.

What’s what you eat on Shabbat? Its what you say on shmoneh esrei. – its giving them a taste of Olam Habah, only if the eating is not an eating of under compulsion.  That means if I’m going to feel I’m forced to eat it I’m not going to enjoy it. Its an eating but not a spiritual eating. What’s Pesach? The time of freedom. So it represents the ability to eat something not out of habit, or because I’m forced to by hunger, or jealousy, or by love of the food, I’m not being compelled by anything inside of me, that’s freedom. Even if eating.

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