God vs The Multiverse

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Monday, June 11, 2012

Pleasure from this World (Part 5: Philosophy)

The gemara in Brachos 35a elaborates on the idea of ברכה:
אמר רב יהודה אמר שמואל כל הנהנה מן העוה"ז בלא ברכה כאילו נהנה מקדשי שמים שנא' לה' הארץ ומלואה ר' לוי רמי כתיב לה' הארץ ומלואה וכתיב השמים שמים לה' והארץ נתן לבני אדם לא קשיא כאן קודם ברכה כאן לאחר ברכה
When a person derives benefit from this world without first making a ברכה, it is like he derived benefit from something owned by Hashem.  This is learned through contradiction between verses.  One verse says the Earth in its entirety belongs to Hashem, while the other verse says He gave it to man.  The resolution is that once a person makes a ברכה, it is his to enjoy.

We would like to offer two ways to understand this gemara, the first way based upon the Rif, and the other second based upon the Ri.

1)  We know from the Torah that Hashem made the Earth for the purpose of man to use his intelligence to recognize his Creator.  Someone who does not recognize Hashem as being the King of the Universe and the ultimate source of his enjoyment, has no right to partake of this world.  It was not made for him, being that he is not truly the human being intended by the creation.

Great men, who serve God out of love, always have the right to eat.  The world was made for them.  Fools who deny God, never have the right.  Most people fall somewhere in between.  When they make a ברכה, pause to praise their Creator for a moment, they have the right to eat.  Without saying the ברכה however, it is still prohibited to them.

2) A different way to understand the gemara is that the Earth belongs to its Maker always and everywhere.  A person only has permission to derive benefit from it, if he asks permission first.  No one has the right to eat with out asking first.  To do so would be treating this world like it belongs to us, while in truth it remains in the possession of its Maker.  Only after a ברכה in which we praise and recognize the Creator of the Universe do we have permission to take pleasure from it.


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