30 Course Tasting Menu with 15 Wines: Gluttony or Kedusha?

Every once in a while you hear complaints about materialism in the frum media, it usually has to do with lavish yeshiva fundraising banquets, expensive pesach hotels in Hawaii and those marble columns that your neighbor in Monsey decided to adorn their ugly house with. These complaints usually have to do with “how can someone do such a thing, when there are so many needy people out there?” (they tend to sound very liberal at this point by the way) With the yeshiva tuition crisis and so many families without the funds to feed their children, anyone who goes on vacation is a real momzer! So when I was invited by my friend, master chef Isaac Bernstein, to help out in the kitchen with prepping a 30 course dinner, I wondered whether or not I was sinning or on the verge of some great chassidic elevation of food.

Food is one of those things that pretty much everyone enjoys, but at a certain point it may seem a bit excessive. Does anyone really need to eat 30 courses to be fit enough for a good session of Torah l’shma. I was taught that food was only a means to make us fit for our servitude to the Lord. We eat breakfast so we can pay attention in morning seder and so on (women probably aren’t supposed to eat much because they don’t need that strength for learning since it’s not their mitzvah) and we eat dinner so we can sit in night seder and so on.

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