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Monday, 27 January 2014

Everything in Moderation

Yoma 80

The key to enjoying this world is moderation.

The minimum amount that one must eat on Yom Kippur in order to be liable is the volume of a large date.  Would you believe, there’s also a maximum amount!  Resh Lakish says that if one eats excessively, one is similarly not liable for punishment.  Why not?  The Torah says, “You shall afflict yourselves,” and while fasting is a form of affliction, so too is overeating!  Eating excessively is damaging to the body and therefore constitutes affliction.

The Talmud is clear: Everything in moderation.  Our bodies are a gift from the Almighty that we must take great care of.   Any excessive behaviour is detrimental and dangerous.  It is a mitzvah to drink wine for Kiddush on Shabbos, but to get drunk is condemned.  It is a mitzvah to eat good food on Shabbos, but we must avoid gluttonous consumption.

The Torah instructs us, “And you shall guard your lives very carefully,” which our Sages explain refers to the requirement to protect one’s health and treat one’s body sacredly.  If excessive indulgence is considered affliction, then we have a biblical obligation to eat and act with moderation! 

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