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Thought for the Day: Instant Coffee and Avodas HaShem; Pleasure in This World, Take II

Contrary to popular belief, I don't like coffee.  I do, however, very much like giving myself the pleasure of enjoying a good cup of coffee.  Now, before you get (more) annoyed; please let me explain.

First, I would like to establish the following:
All pleasure is the result of enjoying the fruits of some labor.
In case there is any doubt, just ask yourself how many people in their right minds want to live their lives in bed with a feeding tube?  Ummm... none.  The disagreement is not about the fact that enjoyment of pleasure only comes from effort; rather people tend to want to decide on their own the level effort they are willing to expend and on what.

Next principle:
As we mature, our ideas of what constitutes pleasure also matures.
This does not mean that we give up pleasures, rather that our ideas and attitudes change.  As a trivial example, I was aghast the first time I saw a book without pictures.  I don't read any picture books any more. Its not that I can't find any at a suitable reading level; I do not want pictures on my books.  All pleasures are like this.  Coffee is another great example of this principle.  When I was six it was inconceivable to me that anyone really liked coffee.  It did not take many years to change my attitude on that.  That means that the real experience of pleasure is in the mind; it is an intellectual exercise.  Now back to the coffee.

Brewed coffee:
Put crisp, new filter into coffee maker basket and pour fresh water (from Brita pitcher) into the boiler.  Open container; enjoy aroma of coffee escaping from the confines of its packaging.  Dig spoon into the coffee (which makes such a cool crunching sound) and measure the coffee into the filter.  Turn on the coffee maker and go sit down to learn while it brews.  Enjoy the aroma of the coffee and sound of the water first boiling and then dripping into the pot.  After a few minutes of waiting, during which one enjoys the anticipation of that first sip of hot coffee, get up to pour the coffee into a clean cup.  Walk back, sit down, enjoy the sight and aroma of your cup of hot, black brew.  Say a bracha, take a drink... ahhhh.
Instant coffee:
Pour powder into cup. Pour hot water into said cup. Say bracha and drink.  yay 
Besides which, instant coffee doesn't even taste very good.  See why I prefer brewed coffee?

Final principle:
HaShem created me to be the beneficiary of His Goodness.  Moreover, each moment is a new creation.  It follows that there must be pleasure and goodness to be found in each moment.
There is no physical pleasure that I can be experienced every moment.  Even if I enjoy eating; once I get full, game over.  Worse, many physical pleasures also come with a "hangover".  So the best I can get out of that is a net zero on balance (x hours of pleasure followed by x hours of hangover).  I think the only conclusion is that to most efficiently squeeze every drop of enjoyment out of the each moment of life is to think about what I am doing.  Once I start thinking about everything I do, I get to have fun all the time.  Life becomes one big action adventure.  Even things I thought I didn't like can become fun.

Now... that would just be the result of adding thinking about what I am doing to any action.  Suppose in addition I direct my thoughts and actions according to the 248 direct channels of enjoyment (mitzvos asei) and to be careful to push away from the 365 impediments to enjoyment (mitzvos lo sa'asei) that the Creator of Reality has built in to the system and then documented  in His magnum opus,  "Life: A Handbook" (aka, Toras Chaim)?  Now we are really taking over the top fun and excitement!  Now lets look at instant coffee again -- but now on Shabbos:
Carefully cut open packet of instant coffee, being careful not to damage any letters.  Pour crystals into coffee cup.  Pour hot water into a different clean, dry (to avoid any bishul issues) cup.  Pour water from second cup over crystals in the first cup; thus fulfilling a minhag Yisrael of being careful with even instant coffee to use a kli sheini.   Walk back, sit down, enjoy the sight and aroma of the hot, black brew.  Contemplate the joy of having the z'chus of connecting with the Creator of the world by enjoying a day devoid of worries and distractions.  Say a bracha, take a drink... ahhhh 
Ain't life grand?


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