Ask The Rabbi

For the week ending 8 February 2020 / 13 Shevat 5780

Parshat Beshalach

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Dear Rabbi,

I would like to know where I can find this passage in the Talmud. I think the indication I found in the Internet is wrong or defective. "Rabbi Hezekiah the Kohen said in the name of Rav: A person is destined to give an accounting before the Heavenly Tribunal for everything he saw but did not enjoy, ignoring G-d's world which He meant for man's enjoyment."

The source that you are looking for is the Jerusalem Talmud, Tractate Kiddushin Chapter 4 Halacha 12 (page 48, side b).

The Talmud states that anyone who saw food and did not partake of it will, in the future, have to give an accounting of his actions.

This statement means that when a person partakes of food he must make a blessing before he eats it. That blessing serves as a method to 'enhance' G-d's presence in this world. By choosing not to eat, a person is relinquishing the ability to praise G-d and His creation. Obviously, the Talmud is referring exclusively to kosher food.

The Jewish outlook on physical pleasure is very beautiful. We believe that G-d is kind, and therefore made a world full of pleasure for us to enjoy.

  • Sources: Pnei Moshe, commentary on the Jerusalem Talmud

Reflections of a Newborn

Paula wrote:

Friends and I heard that one should not allow a baby in its first year to look into mirrors. We have been unsuccessful in finding a source for this and would appreciate it if you could help us. Thank you.

Dear Paula,

I've heard this as well, although there are differing versions of how long to keep the baby away from the mirror: During the baby's first year; until the baby gets its first tooth; and for a boy until the brit milah. However, I once consulted with Rav Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg about this, and he said that he knew of absolutely no source for this whatsoever and indicated that it is a mere bubba maiseh ('tall-tale').

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