Simcha's Torah Stories - Shmini
YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT
Hi Avi! How are you doing?
Thank G-d, Chaim.
Do you want to come with us to the hospital today?
I generally try to avoid hospitals, Chaim.
I am talking about going to the hospital to do a mitzvah.
Which mitzvah is that Chaim?
Bikur Cholim, the mitzvah of visiting the sick, Avi.
Sure, Chaim. I'll be happy to go. When it comes to doing mitzvos, I'm always ready to lend a helping hand.
While walking down one of the corridors of the hospital, Avi and Chaim overhear the doctor speaking to a woman.
Mrs. Cohen, the prognosis looks good. Your husband stands a good chance of making a complete recovery.
Thank G-d, Dr. Friedman.
He will have to go on a very strict diet, however. It may be very time consuming for you to prepare his special food.
Whatever you say, doctor. My husband's recovery is more important than anything else.
He will have to avoid salt, sugar, fried foods, microwaved foods, fats, high cholesterol foods and dairy products. I will give you a detailed report of precisely what he can and cannot eat before he is ready to leave the hospital.
Thank you so much Dr. Friedman.
Chaim and Avi continue visiting patients in the hospital. A short time later, they overhear the same Dr. Friedman speaking to another woman.
Mrs. Black, I have some not-so-good news for you.
Oh no, doctor, what is it.
The prognosis does not look very good for your husband.
But doctor, isn't there anything you can do to help him? Perhaps a special diet?
You can try but I don't think it will make a difference. I am sorry Mrs. Black.
Chaim and Avi think about the doctor's words.
The diet will help Mr. Cohen, but not Mr. Black.
You know, Avi, there is something very important that we can learn from this.
What is that, Chaim?
If you look in this week's Torah portion, Parshas Shemini, you find two lists of animals. One is the list of kosher animals that are permissible to eat, and the other is the list of non-kosher animals. Why are some foods forbidden to eat? They seem perfectly nutritious and appetizing. The Midrash Rabba, a commentary on the Torah written by our great Talmudic sages explains with a story. There were two patients: one was going to live, and the other was not. The one who was going to live, needed a special diet to nurse him back to health. The other had no hope, so there was no point restricting his diet.
Chaim, that's just like the two conversations we overheard here in the hospital today.
Exactly my point, Avi. The Torah puts us on a special diet called "Kashrus". It is for our own benefit, to insure a long and productive physical and spiritual life. WE'RE GOING TO LIVE! However, we have to follow the diet, to guard our health.
You know what they say, Chaim. "You are what you eat." Eating kosher is a must for those who strive to learn Torah and keep mitzvos.
Avi, all of this talk about food is making me hungry.
Me too, Chaim. Let's go home and eat a good lunch so we can have more energy to do more mitzvos.
What does that mean, Chaim?
Have a good appetite.
A traveler comes to a fork in the road and does not know how to get to his destination. Two men are at the fork in the road. One of them always tells the truth, and the other one always lies. He may ask the men one question to find his way. What question does he ask these men?
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