Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Chugging Down Kosher Lemehadrin Beer

Zelig loves to drink beer. He goes to the grocery store and buys a six-pack of beer. He checks the package out to make sure that the beer has a good hechsher. After coming home from the store he sits down at the dinner table, opens the first bottle up and empties the contents into a tall glass. He holds the glass in his right hand and recites the "shehakol" blessing with great conviction and feeling. Two seconds later the glass is empty and Zelig's stomach is full of the bubbly stuff. Zelig however is not finished. When he recited the brocho, he specifically had in mind that he was going to finish the six-pack. So the contents of bottles number 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 follow the in the footsteps of the contents of bottle number 1. Despite the fact that Zelig is in a very altered state of consciousness, he manages to recite a "borei nefoshos." Zelig dozes off, happy that he recited all of the proper benedictions over his kosher lemehadrin beer.

Isn't Zelig a Tzaddik? Zelig fulfilled all of his halachic obligations. He did not drink something that was forbidden, and he did not partake of enjoyment from the world without blessing G-d.

But there is something very wrong here!

This weeks Parsha is Kedoshim. The Ramban explains that the command "Kedoshim Tihyu"(You shall be holy) means that we must sanctify ourselves in the things that are permitted. That is to say, even the things that the Torah permits must be partaken of in a measured way. One must not be a "baal ta'avo", one who is consumed by his desires and passions. The command "Kedoshim Tihyu" is meant to prevent Zelig-like behavior.


Jason H. Elbaum said...

If you hold like the Ramban. Rambam, however, does not read Kedoshim Tihyu as forbidding anything not already forbidden by specific commandments.

Cosmic X said...

Mr. Biur, I think the Rambam would also have objections to Zelig like behavior according to Hilchot Deot.

TRK said...


I don't really think Zelig has done anythig wrong. Maybe he should have shared some with his friends? Seriously though. That's your take on a naval birshus hatorah? (That makes me a nevley navalim!)


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