Would you dream of stealing from G-d?
Of course not!
There are two reasons why we make a blessing on the food that we eat, the first being that we are asking Hashem for permission to partake in his food. The second reason is that everything in this world can be used for holiness, and when we make a blessing, we are elevating the food and ourselves to a higher realm of holiness.
At first glance, this seems like a joke. Imagine a child asking their parent for permission to do something and then doing it without waiting for a response. They asked, didn’t they?
Nowhere between making a blessing and eating the food do we see G-d giving us permission. This problem is even stronger, considering that after the blessing, we are on a higher plane! Surely, now, even more so, it doesn’t befit us to take something that doesn’t belong to us!
In this week’s Torah portion, Parshat Emor, we learn about the Kohen, the priest, working in the Jewish temple. A slave belonging to a Kohen was able to eat the holiest meats that were forbidden to most Jews! The slave, by mere belonging to the Kohen, takes on his holiness, so to speak, and is now allowed to eat the holy meats, just like his master.
According to this, we understand why we make a blessing on food. When we make a blessing, we are submitting to our Creator and becoming one with Him. Once we are under his complete jurisdiction, His food becomes ours, and we have permission to enjoy it.
And this is with everything in this world. We could elevate it by using it for holiness, and thus bring ourselves, too, to a higher plane.
Start by lighting ordinary candles this week for Shabbat;)
Candle lighting time in NYC is on Friday before 7:38 PM