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Thought for the Day: Appreciating What We Have Even More

I was thinking about the Tosofos I learned yesterday with the Stropkover Rebbi. (Even a verbrenta misnagid like me can't help but mull over an event like that!)  Tosofos explains that the "v'chesronan" (their deficiencies) in borei nefashos refers to those things without which it would be impossible to live, such as bread and water.  Interestingly enough, however, one would never say "borei nefashos" on bread!  Why would Chazal have us first refer to a food that is not relevant to this bracha?

I would like propose that before thanking HaShem for delicacies, such as apples, we need to appreciate that the world did not have to be that way.  HaShem could have created only those things required for life, such as bread and water.  If there were nothing to eat except apples, we would appreciate them.  However, when we first acknowledge that there are other things to eat that would satisfy our need for nutrition and apples are (so to speak) extra credit, we have an intensified appreciation for them.

Rav Dessler points out a similar idea about t'shuva and olam haba.  Part of the t'shuva process is "charata" -- a feeling of regret and embarrassment.  (The ba'al tshuva feels charata over what he did, the tzadik feels charata about what he almost did.)  Rav Dessler wonders what relevance such feelings have to olam haba.  He answers that those feelings intensify our appreciation of the Creator's chesed -- that He brought us close from such a low state -- and therefore increases our pleasure in olam haba.

Newton is not the only physicist to have learned a lot from an apple.


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