The Shulchan Aruch, (see Orach Chayim 231) says that when you eat it must be lesheim Shomayim, for the purpose of serving Hashem. Does that mean we shouldn’t make our food more tasty, by adding sugar or other flavors?
And the answer is, no. Add the sugar and the flavors, and do it lesheim Shomayim.
Now how could you do that? If you’re enjoying it, what’s the lesheim Shomayim there?
The answer is, even when you’re eating plain bread without any flavors, without any spreads, how is it lesheim Shomayim? You’re hungry, that’s why you’re eating.
The answer is, like we mentioned above, even if it’s not lesheim Shomayim, but you’re saying that you want to do it lesheim Shomayim, so Hakodosh Boruch Hu says הבא לטהר מסייעין לו, I’m going to help you. If you want to get lesheim Shomayim then the חיצוניות מעוררת את הפנימיות – because of your outward act of saying it’s lesheim Shomayim, Hakodosh Boruch Hu will help you eventually do it lesheim Shomayim.
So you start out eating the chocolate cake lesheim Shomayim. “I’m eating, Hashem, to have koach to serve You.” It could be that the chocolate cake is not such a good thing for you, but say it anyhow. Say it anyhow! And after a while you start convincing yourself, and you’ll be doing lesheim Shomayim.
So when you sit down on Yom Tov or Shabbos to a good seudah, you should eat lesheim Shomayim. How can you do it? When you sit down to eat a piece of hard bread and a glass of water it’s easier, but now you’re sitting down to a good seudah, delicious foods, how can you do it lesheim Shomayim?
The answer is, the tziruf; just to add the kavana of lesheim Shomayim to your own kavonos of wanting to eat, and it’s considered lesheim Shomayim.
Hakodosh Boruch Hu doesn’t want you to suffer; He wants you to enjoy the food and still add lesheim Shomayim. And it is accepted, and it’s considered an achievement.
TAPE # 962 (June 1994)