Q & A: Ask the Rabbi

Does G-d Care What Toilet Paper I Use on Shabbat?

How do these details make a difference?

testArray ( [type] => article [id] => 193143 [title] => Does G-d Care What Toilet Paper I Use on Shabbat? [short_text] => How do these details make a difference? [content] => Q. Sarit asks: "I'm at the beginning of the Teshuva road and getting stronger in my mitzvah observance, and I’d like to ask this question that’s bothering me. It's clear to me that there is a G-d and that He gave the Torah to the nation of Israel, but it's hard for me to understand the purpose of certain mitzvahs. For example I’m careful not to check through and separate foods on Shabbat, but I wonder why this is important to G-d?  How does it help me not to cut paper on Shabbat, or not to listen to music on the Omer or not to eat Chametz on Passover (and why is it so important to burn chametz?) On the other hand, it is important to note that there are many mitzvos that I can understand, such as modesty, which prevents much damage. I want to believe that keeping all the commandments meticulously is important.”
 
A. Peace and blessings to you Sarit, and thanks for your question. Kudos to you, for strengthening yourself and your interest in mitzvoth. Your question comes from a genuine desire to understand, and with G-d’s help your curiosity will lead you to understanding Judaism better and increasing your mitzvah observance.
 
As you may know, God created your soul, and He lowered your soul into a physical body to develop it spiritually, and repair character traits related to the soul. This means that the Almighty is interested in you, and in everything you do - every thought, speech and action. God gave you a good and evil inclination, and the freedom to choose between good and evil. The fact is you have chosen to repent, and you choose how much you want to invest in observing the commandments. Therefore every mitzvah you do brings you closer to the Creator, because it requires of you to forego your personal desires in favor of G-d’s will. For this reason it is proper and necessary to always think in advance before doing a mitzvah to focus your heart to do every mitzvah for G-d.
 
Let us take a metaphor from the medical world, where the tiniest germ can make someone sick. Then getting better sometimes involves the most exact and unlikely procedures. You may need to seek protection from unseen dangers. Similarly, behind every mitzvah, lies a spiritual root relevant to the correction of the soul our senses can’t detect. But there is also a dimension of the mitzvah that we can understand logically. It’s good to understand the reasons for the mitzvoth, and the correct outlook they give us. This will encourage you to increase your mitzvah observance. Study the Sefer HaChinuch, which explains the reasons for each mitzvah. In addition, you should watch Rabbi Zamir Cohen’s: "Mitzvot in the 20th Century".
 
As for your questions, Shabbat is meant to remind us of the creation of the world. When we stop our normal routine and all our thoughts of business and material things, in order to remember the Creator and His Holy Torah, and to dedicate our time to Him as guests invited to the King's house.
 
Cutting paper on the Sabbath may seem insignificant, but it is work that affects a change in reality: it corrects something you want to use by separating into two parts what was previously connected - and less useful to you. God commanded us to refrain from work on Sabbath, as He Himself refrained from work and blessed the Sabbath. By refraining from work we emulate G-d, prove our faith in G-d’s creation of the world, and also create a personal connection with our Creator.

Not cutting paper on Shabbat may seem to us like a minor detail, but it’s actually very significant in correcting our soul. With such small details G-d reminds to prepare all our needs before Shabbat making it a special day, in which everything is prepared for us. These commandments also give us the correct perspective that we need to correct all our actions in advance in this world, so that we will be ready for the World to Come, as our Sages said: “Whoever prepares before the Shabbat will eat on Shabbat.” (Avoda Zara 3a)
 
This idea is subconciously engraved in our minds and this is one of the reasons why Shabbat makes us more spiritual people during the week. All your actions on Shabbat must be focused to the Creator; even the way you choose, separate and eat your food! Thank G-d you merited that you do not choose and separate foods on Shabbat, and thus eating your food involves no labor on Shabbat. Remember the fact that even such a simple action can remind you of how every little thing in your world is important and precious to G-d, and that G-d is with you in the smallest details of your life. This fact that G-d is involved your small details, will help you make a personal connection with G-d.
 
People travel to India and spend hours and days meditating to try to feel a bit of spirituality in their lives ... But how many of them tried the ancient Jewish meditation called "Shabbat Kodesh" (The Holy Shabbat)? You merit sanctifying your soul every Shabbat. As a result you receive an abundance of blessing and holiness throughout the week. Thanks to the Torah, you became a more spiritual person.
 
You also don’t listen to music during the Omer, because in doing so you train yourself to feel the pain of the 24,000 Torah scholars who were lost to the Jewish people. In this manner you inculcate the values of the importance and prestige of Torah and, and the great importance of unconditional love for your fellow Jew. You are actually shaping your heart to love and value the Torah, and as a result you bring your soul close to the Creator of the Universe. The Sages said that our hearts are drawn after our actions. And so, even our smallest act is important in shaping our feelings and opinions.

The prohibition against eating Chametz on Passover reminds us of the importance of our Exodus from Egypt. Why should a person agree to forego eating bread for a week - if not for something important and dear to him? This prohibition connects us with our forefathers who left Egypt some 3300 years ago, and puts faith in the Holy Torah into our hearts. Take note that in this way the people of Israel in every generation unite for one week a year all thanks to their adherence to that amazing and unusual prohibition which is a sign to remember the Exodus. By not eating Chametz on Passover we embed in our hearts that our lives are not a free for all, and that our sustenance is in the hands of G-d, who determines what our food will be, and that everything comes from Him. The prohibition of Chametz on Pesach helps create in our souls a great spiritual connection to all of Israel, our history, and the holy Torah.



The burning of Chametz also shows the importance and severity we accord the prohibition of Chametz. For if a human king would ask us to remove the Chametz from our homes, we would throw it in the trash, but when the King of kings demands that we clean out the Chametz from our city, we will burn the Chametz in the streets. Anyone witnessing this burning will understand: “This is the commandment of The King, not the commandment of a human being.” This mitzvah demonstrates the importance of Pesach and the great severity of eating Chametz on Passover. For when we see something burned because of its prohibition we understand the importance of removing it from our homes and not eating it during the holiday.
 
Behind the mitzvoth we mentioned, there are many other reasons, both revealed and hidden, which uproot negative character traits from our souls and impart good traits in our souls, which connect our soul to the Creator. Thus the Sages said: "The mitzvoth were not given but to purify the people through them" (Genesis Rabbah, Parsha 31).

At this point it is important to clarify that the commandments give us a true closeness to the Creator - whether we know their true reason or not. Mitzvoth affect our souls, they turn to our subconscious, and thus they touch our souls and correct them. Thus, for example, many rabbis today explain the reason behind the mitzvah of family purity. It strengthens a healthy and wonderful intimate relationship between husband and wife for their entire life. But even observant people who aren’t aware of this benefit will still enjoy the fruits of the mitzvah, and without realizing it, they’ll merit the tremendous connection and love that family purity provides.
 
And this is the truth in all the commandments. They are all beneficial to our soul whether we know their reason or not. When you observe the Sabbath and observe the various prohibitions, you benefit your soul even if you don’t know why you are doing it. You fulfill the commandment of the King who is also your loving father who knows what’s best for you. After all, the Creator commanded the mitzvoth, and these are therefore the manufacturer's instructions for the soul. That's why people who came back to Judaism are happier people than they were before coming back to Judaism. They readily admit that Judaism added light and joy to their life.
 
You can call the Hidabroot Advice Line (03-6106061), and you will get personal instruction how to strengthen yourself in a pleasant and understandable manner. Good luck!
 
  [pic] => 26139 [date_created] => 2017-04-13 21:03:00 [writer] => 53665 [tags] => |55958||57826||57038| [categories] => 50657 [category] => 50657 [classname] => [is_active] => 1 [is_woman] => 0 [override_link] => [pic_text] => [seo_title] => Does G-d Care What Toilet Paper I Use on Shabbat? [item_type] => article [item_id] => 193143 [list_type] => mgz_cat [list_id] => 50657 [link] => http://www.hidabrut.com/article/193143/Does-G-d-Care-What-Toilet-Paper-I-Use-on-Shabbat [top_section] => 53926 ) 1
| 13.04.17 | 21:03
Does G-d Care What Toilet Paper I Use on Shabbat?
Q. Sarit asks: "I'm at the beginning of the Teshuva road and getting stronger in my mitzvah observance, and I’d like to ask this question that’s bothering me. It's clear to me that there is a G-d and that He gave the Torah to the nation of Israel, but it's hard for me to understand the purpose of certain mitzvahs. For example I’m careful not to check through and separate foods on Shabbat, but I wonder why this is important to G-d?  How does it help me not to cut paper on Shabbat, or not to listen to music on the Omer or not to eat Chametz on Passover (and why is it so important to burn chametz?) On the other hand, it is important to note that there are many mitzvos that I can understand, such as modesty, which prevents much damage. I want to believe that keeping all the commandments meticulously is important.”
 
A. Peace and blessings to you Sarit, and thanks for your question. Kudos to you, for strengthening yourself and your interest in mitzvoth. Your question comes from a genuine desire to understand, and with G-d’s help your curiosity will lead you to understanding Judaism better and increasing your mitzvah observance.
 
As you may know, God created your soul, and He lowered your soul into a physical body to develop it spiritually, and repair character traits related to the soul. This means that the Almighty is interested in you, and in everything you do - every thought, speech and action. God gave you a good and evil inclination, and the freedom to choose between good and evil. The fact is you have chosen to repent, and you choose how much you want to invest in observing the commandments. Therefore every mitzvah you do brings you closer to the Creator, because it requires of you to forego your personal desires in favor of G-d’s will. For this reason it is proper and necessary to always think in advance before doing a mitzvah to focus your heart to do every mitzvah for G-d.
 
Let us take a metaphor from the medical world, where the tiniest germ can make someone sick. Then getting better sometimes involves the most exact and unlikely procedures. You may need to seek protection from unseen dangers. Similarly, behind every mitzvah, lies a spiritual root relevant to the correction of the soul our senses can’t detect. But there is also a dimension of the mitzvah that we can understand logically. It’s good to understand the reasons for the mitzvoth, and the correct outlook they give us. This will encourage you to increase your mitzvah observance. Study the Sefer HaChinuch, which explains the reasons for each mitzvah. In addition, you should watch Rabbi Zamir Cohen’s: "Mitzvot in the 20th Century".
 
As for your questions, Shabbat is meant to remind us of the creation of the world. When we stop our normal routine and all our thoughts of business and material things, in order to remember the Creator and His Holy Torah, and to dedicate our time to Him as guests invited to the King's house.
 
Cutting paper on the Sabbath may seem insignificant, but it is work that affects a change in reality: it corrects something you want to use by separating into two parts what was previously connected - and less useful to you. God commanded us to refrain from work on Sabbath, as He Himself refrained from work and blessed the Sabbath. By refraining from work we emulate G-d, prove our faith in G-d’s creation of the world, and also create a personal connection with our Creator.

Not cutting paper on Shabbat may seem to us like a minor detail, but it’s actually very significant in correcting our soul. With such small details G-d reminds to prepare all our needs before Shabbat making it a special day, in which everything is prepared for us. These commandments also give us the correct perspective that we need to correct all our actions in advance in this world, so that we will be ready for the World to Come, as our Sages said: “Whoever prepares before the Shabbat will eat on Shabbat.” (Avoda Zara 3a)
 
This idea is subconciously engraved in our minds and this is one of the reasons why Shabbat makes us more spiritual people during the week. All your actions on Shabbat must be focused to the Creator; even the way you choose, separate and eat your food! Thank G-d you merited that you do not choose and separate foods on Shabbat, and thus eating your food involves no labor on Shabbat. Remember the fact that even such a simple action can remind you of how every little thing in your world is important and precious to G-d, and that G-d is with you in the smallest details of your life. This fact that G-d is involved your small details, will help you make a personal connection with G-d.
 
People travel to India and spend hours and days meditating to try to feel a bit of spirituality in their lives ... But how many of them tried the ancient Jewish meditation called "Shabbat Kodesh" (The Holy Shabbat)? You merit sanctifying your soul every Shabbat. As a result you receive an abundance of blessing and holiness throughout the week. Thanks to the Torah, you became a more spiritual person.
 
You also don’t listen to music during the Omer, because in doing so you train yourself to feel the pain of the 24,000 Torah scholars who were lost to the Jewish people. In this manner you inculcate the values of the importance and prestige of Torah and, and the great importance of unconditional love for your fellow Jew. You are actually shaping your heart to love and value the Torah, and as a result you bring your soul close to the Creator of the Universe. The Sages said that our hearts are drawn after our actions. And so, even our smallest act is important in shaping our feelings and opinions.

The prohibition against eating Chametz on Passover reminds us of the importance of our Exodus from Egypt. Why should a person agree to forego eating bread for a week - if not for something important and dear to him? This prohibition connects us with our forefathers who left Egypt some 3300 years ago, and puts faith in the Holy Torah into our hearts. Take note that in this way the people of Israel in every generation unite for one week a year all thanks to their adherence to that amazing and unusual prohibition which is a sign to remember the Exodus. By not eating Chametz on Passover we embed in our hearts that our lives are not a free for all, and that our sustenance is in the hands of G-d, who determines what our food will be, and that everything comes from Him. The prohibition of Chametz on Pesach helps create in our souls a great spiritual connection to all of Israel, our history, and the holy Torah.



The burning of Chametz also shows the importance and severity we accord the prohibition of Chametz. For if a human king would ask us to remove the Chametz from our homes, we would throw it in the trash, but when the King of kings demands that we clean out the Chametz from our city, we will burn the Chametz in the streets. Anyone witnessing this burning will understand: “This is the commandment of The King, not the commandment of a human being.” This mitzvah demonstrates the importance of Pesach and the great severity of eating Chametz on Passover. For when we see something burned because of its prohibition we understand the importance of removing it from our homes and not eating it during the holiday.
 
Behind the mitzvoth we mentioned, there are many other reasons, both revealed and hidden, which uproot negative character traits from our souls and impart good traits in our souls, which connect our soul to the Creator. Thus the Sages said: "The mitzvoth were not given but to purify the people through them" (Genesis Rabbah, Parsha 31).

At this point it is important to clarify that the commandments give us a true closeness to the Creator - whether we know their true reason or not. Mitzvoth affect our souls, they turn to our subconscious, and thus they touch our souls and correct them. Thus, for example, many rabbis today explain the reason behind the mitzvah of family purity. It strengthens a healthy and wonderful intimate relationship between husband and wife for their entire life. But even observant people who aren’t aware of this benefit will still enjoy the fruits of the mitzvah, and without realizing it, they’ll merit the tremendous connection and love that family purity provides.
 
And this is the truth in all the commandments. They are all beneficial to our soul whether we know their reason or not. When you observe the Sabbath and observe the various prohibitions, you benefit your soul even if you don’t know why you are doing it. You fulfill the commandment of the King who is also your loving father who knows what’s best for you. After all, the Creator commanded the mitzvoth, and these are therefore the manufacturer's instructions for the soul. That's why people who came back to Judaism are happier people than they were before coming back to Judaism. They readily admit that Judaism added light and joy to their life.
 
You can call the Hidabroot Advice Line (03-6106061), and you will get personal instruction how to strengthen yourself in a pleasant and understandable manner. Good luck!
 
 
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