The Joy of Eating
Likutei Halachos on Parshas Riay
Translated by Dov Grant
Devarim 12:7 "You shall rejoice in all that you put your hand to"
The ruach ha’adam/spirit of Man corresponds to da’as di’kedushah/knowledge of holiness. The ruach ha’beheimah/spirit of the beast corresponds to ko’ach ha’medameh/the imaginative faculty, from which stems all earthly desires. The first sin of eating from the tree of knowledge forced a mixture of these two forces into the creation. The ruach ha’adam and the ruach ha’beheimah are now mingled within everything in the world.
When we sanctify our eating properly, the main tikkun/rectification is to merit extracting the ruach ha’adam from the ruach ha’beheimah – removal of good from the evil of the ko’ach ha’medameh. This is primarily achieved through simchah/joy. We must therefore try to eat in a happy mood, as the verse indicates: “Eat your bread in simchah”. For the main tikkun and clarification of eating takes place through simchah, which extracts the medameh/negative imagination.
And this relates to the sacrificial offerings. When an offering was brought in the Temple, the Levi’im would stand on their designated platform and sing. For extraction of ruach ha’adam is the main purpose of the offerings, separating the good ruach from the animal ruach. And this is achieved through singing and niggun/melody, corresponding to [above] “rejoice in all that you put your hand to”. For this verse speaks about the offerings that are brought on the festivals, as identified with (Pesachim 109a): “Simchah is only achieved through [eating] the meat of the animal offering”. And true simchah arises when eating the offerings, since the main extraction of animalistic urges, the medameh, is through simchah and niggun.
Yoreh De’ah Hilchos Treifos 2:2