What is meant by the statement in the Gemara (Yerushalmi Kiddushin 12:4) that a person is going to have to give an accounting in the Next World for everything that he saw in this world and didn’t utilize for pleasure?
And the answer is that Hakadosh Baruch Hu gave us all the phenomena of life in order to have some benefit from them. And therefore if a man enjoys them – let’s say you take this apple that we were talking about and after studying it you sample it too. So the lesson of the apple is going to be doubly impressed on your mind.
First you study the apple and you see that it’s wrapped in a waterproof wrapper and it’s beautifully colored too; take time to study it. And after studying the apple you study the seeds in the apple. And all these lessons become impressed on your mind. But then you take a bite and while you’re taking a munch, you’re munching the apple at the same time as you’re thinking; it’s much more fun and you appreciate this lesson much more. It’s like studying a lesson in a sefer that’s written, let’s say, on a delicious biscuit and while you’re learning the sefer you’re munching the margins. You’ll surely appreciate it more. That’s a geshmake sugya! It’s a pleasurable study.
And that’s why Hakadosh Baruch Hu gave us pleasure because pleasure makes it easier to appreciate the great lessons. The purpose of pleasure is that it makes it easier for us to appreciate the great lessons.
That’s what it means all the things that ‘he saw and lo neheneh’ – it means he didn’t utilize the pleasure to appreciate the lessons. It doesn’t mean that when you pass a pastry store you have to buy all the cakes that are loaded down with sugar and fats and syrups. Because even one cake you won’t be able to eat the whole thing. So you’ll say it means you’re going to give an account because you didn’t eat all the cakes and all the candies?!
But it means that when you pass by and see the beautiful cakes and beautiful candies and beautiful fruits you should see them and have hana’ah from them. It doesn’t mean you have to eat them – you have to have hana’ah from them just enough to thank Hakodosh Boruch Hu. If you don’t have hana’ah from them and appreciate what Hakadosh Baruch Hu is doing for mankind – including you because you could also buy it if you wish – so you’re losing the opportunity. And so he’s asid liten es hadin, he’ll have to give an accounting for that.
That’s why it says שיחו בכל נפלאותיו – Talk about all of the wonders of Hashem that you see in this world (Tehillim 105:2). There is a lot of work to be done. You have to talk about the beautiful colors of fruits and the beautiful tastes of fruits. It doesn’t mean you have to taste them yourself but if you don’t utilize it to get some hana’ah – enough pleasure to thank Hashem – then you’re not utilizing the world for its purpose.
TAPE # 317 (May 1980)