the six day diet

I joked over here (at A Simple Jew) that perhaps eating cupcakes, or dealing with my desire for cupcakes might be my tikkun. On a related note I thought it appropriate to point out a couple of things:

1. As we've mentioned in the past, the Noam Elimelech explains how the whole current state of the world exists so that we can, through eating, rectify the sin of Adam which was also performed through eating. So, in a way, every one of us has a tikkun to do through eating.

2. This brings me to dieting. There are a number of reasons to diet, both good and bad, but whatever the reasons, many people diet. Not everyone who diets is aware of one important fact of life:

Dieting is a kind of labor and as such it falls prey to the same logical fallacies that work sometimes can. For example logically it makes sense that if we were to work one day and earn one hundred dollars, then obviously if we were to work for seven days we would earn seven hundred dollars, whereas logically if we worked only six days we would earn less than seven hundred dollars. Sound logic, right? But HaShem promises us that if we work six days, (and rest on the Holy Shabbath) we will earn even more than if we worked seven days.

Ok, I think and hope everyone reading this is saying why are you explaining the obvious nature of Shabbath? Because, many people follow a similar faulty logic when dieting: If I diet only six days a week, I will lose less weight and be less healthy than if I were to diet all seven days of the week. This is completely and utterly false. It couldn't be further from the truth.

Shabbath isn't just about not watching TV, not talking on the phone and not going to work, it is about recognizing that the rules of nature are NOTHING before HaShem. Shabbath is about recognizing that HaShem and ONLY HaShem is in charge of every single little thing that happens in the world.

I'm telling you here, first, that dieting on Shabbath will not accomplish anything. Just like excersizing on Shabbath, just like working on Shabbath.

For a slightly more spiritual explanation it goes something like this: The work that we do over the six days of the week is in order to free the sparks of holiness that have been trapped in the everyday objects of existence. Our work, excersize, diets, every action that we do consciously in order to better serve HaShem serves to raise these sparks out of their corporeal prisons and return them through our mitzwoth and our tefilloth to their supernal homes. On Shabbath, the nature of the world is utterly altered and everything that during the week takes great effort and careful planning, on Shabbath happens automatically without any effort on our part simply because we are enjoying the Shabbath. For this reason, the Baal HaTanya explains in today's Tanya, on Shabbath we eat and drink freely, what might during the week be considered gluttony is openly permitted on Shabbath.

It goes without saying that in order to reap the real benefits of Shabbath we need to truly put our emunah fully and totally in HaShem and ONLY HaShem, and make an effort to appreciate and enjoy the special gift of Shabbath.

[One vitally important caveat here is people who for critical health issues have a special diet. Diabetics for one example of many. Any decisions to do away with diets such as these on Shabbath should always involve a qualified Rav, who will (I imagine) always insist on involving a doctor in such a decision. In such a case where someone's life could possibly be endangered by deviating from said diets, there is no question at all that such a diet should be maintained on Shabbath as we always compromise on the holiness of Shabbath in a life and death situation so that the Jew in question may keep many Shabbatoth instead of chas v'shalom what otherwise might happen.]


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