Ari Soffer from Arutz Sheva reports:
With the Hebrew month of Tishrei fast approaching – and with it the gastronomic festive period of Rosh Hashanah and Sukkot – many people will already be worrying about how to avoid piling on the pounds. But if you’re thinking about skipping dessert, one rabbi says you should think again.
According to Rabbi Efraim Zalmanovich of the central Israeli city of Mazkeret Batya, near Rehovot, Jews must not diet on Shabbat or the festivals. In fact, you really should just let it all go.
In a Torah essay regarding the festivals of Tishrei, Rabbi Zalmanovich called on readers to “treat yourselves on the upcoming holidays with good food.”
“Our Heavenly Father has guaranteed to cover all the expenses, and in general, diets that are not undertaken on the doctor’s orders are not desirable on the festivals or Shabbat,” he continued.
“These dates are designed to affect a spiritual transcendence through physical relaxation and satiety… It is a Mitzvah (Torah command) to spoil ourselves with tasty foods and festive fragrances.”
And forget about budgeting too.
“I believe that the festival expenses will be covered by Heaven (God),” he continued, citing a Talmudic passage which says that when God decrees how much money a person will earn in the new year, He adds a “special budget” for the festivals.
On the other hand, he warned that “it is forbidden for traders to take advantage of our weakness for the sake of the honor of Shabbat or the festival” to inflate prices – a phenomenon many shoppers will be well acquainted with – and noted that in the past rabbis had led boycotts of overpriced traders and even entire ranges of produce in order to bring down extortionate prices.
On the 30th of Nissan 5739, a mere few days after the holiday of Passover, the Rebbe wrote the following answer:
“Regarding what you wrote that you are overweight and your worries about it, and also that you have a hard time minimizing your food intake
It is my opinion that:
1) The doctors exaggerate in their assessment of the dangers of a person being overweight,
2) Not thinking about it – or at least not to focus on it constantly – will help you overcome to urge to consume excessive amounts of food, or at the very least, will give you peace of mind and strengthen your metabolism to burn the extra fat,
Additionally, and this is the most important aspect – you should serve G-d with joy.”