I am looking for advice on ways to infuse the experience of eating with holiness. Please only provide answers that are sourced.

  • 5
    Eat bagels........ Apr 8, 2013 at 14:13
  • 3
    @GershonGold careful with that joke, it's an antique ;)
    – user2110
    Apr 8, 2013 at 14:22

7 Answers 7


The Mishnah Berurah (231, S"K 5) writes:

וראיתי לאנשי מעשה שקודם אכילה היו אומרים הנני רוצה לאכול ולשתות כדי שאהיה בריא וחזק לעבודת הש"י.‏

And I have seen accomplished men who, prior to eating, would say, "I hereby desire to eat and to drink so that I will be healthy and strong for the service of HaShem, Blessed Be He."

  • And for the sake of sharing, I've also seen people do this. Perhaps not as accomplished as the peers and mentors of the M"B, but still individuals with their heads in the right place.
    – Seth J
    Apr 8, 2013 at 16:00
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    i endeavor to say the pasuk from Mishlei 13:25 - צַדִּיק--אֹכֵל, לְשֹׂבַע נַפְשׁוֹ the righteous eats to sate his soul, before eating. It has helped focus my intentions tremendously.
    – user2110
    Apr 8, 2013 at 16:10

Some practices I have adopted that have worked well for me include

Taanis HaRaavad (towards the bottom) - basically you try to leave over a portion of food at the end of your meal. If you're eating a slice of pizza forgo that last bite. It is harder than it sounds but it trains you to control your ta'avah

Eating in a way that symbolically corresponds to the name of God - When eating I try to take small bites and I keep count. I then try to match the number of bites up with the gematria of the shem Hashem. For example on shabbos I would take the challah and count each bite to make sure it lasts for ten bites. Then I think, or say aloud 10 is yud the first letter in the shem Hashem. Then the gefitle fish is 5 bites and so on. In practical terms this slows down the way you eat and makes it feel like a much more spiritual experience. Source: Toldos Yaakov Yosef, Parshas Va’eira, p.141

I can also recommend the book Holy Eating for more ideas and techniques.


There are the admonitions for eating that Rav Yedida Raphael Abulafia wrote in the second edition of his siddur(this is them copied over in the siddur Rechovot HaNahar by Rav Benayahu Shmueli). They were brought down from numerous sources in the Rishonim and Acharonim which he was kind enough to source. They are(in part) translated into English here.

Then there is also the various admonitions and advice that the Ben Ish Hai gives in his sefer, Year 1 Parashat Behar.

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    Trying to find a sefer where they are printed in full. Apr 8, 2013 at 16:20
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    Some biographical information. Rav Yedida Raphael Abulafia was a student of Divrei Shalom, and the fifth Rosh Yeshiva of the Yeshivat HaMekubalim Beit El. Apr 9, 2013 at 12:02

There is a lot of eitza in the sefer Shulchan HaTahor by Reb Arele Roth zy"a. Toldos Aharon will put a food away before they eat if they have a strong tayva for it.

  • Yechiel, welcome to Mi Yodeya, and thanks very much for bringing up this source! I hope you'll look around the site and find other material to your taste, perhaps including our 65 questions on musar. Please consider registering your account, which will give you access to more of the site's features.
    – Isaac Moses
    Dec 9, 2013 at 14:56

Not sure if I overlooked this response to your wonderful question user2110 but don't overlook the "obvious." Remember to recite the blessing over each food and recite Grace After Meals. The b'racha for each type of food groups draws your awareness of the source of your sustenance to the Ein Sof. The following source may be a good start point:



10 Steps To Greatness By Rav Avigdor Miller z''l

Do the following once a day.

  1. Spend 30 seconds thinking of Olam Haba
  2. Say once "I love you Hashem"
  3. Do one hidden act of chesed.
  4. Be like Hashem who lifts the humble, say something to encourage someone.
  5. Spend 1 minute about what happened yesterday (cheshbon hanefesh).
  6. Your actions should be l'shem shamayim (say once during meals)




Of course, one can also always do what is required of him by Halacha, namely making a blessing before and after, eating like a mentch, eating healty, and eating only Kosher, as well as having the intent of eating being for Heaven.

As the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch succinctly states 31:2

אכילה ושתיה, כיצד. אין צריך לומר שלא יאכל וישתה דברים האסורים, חס ושלום אלא גם בדברים המתרים, והיה צמא ורעב, אם ואכל ושתה להנאתו, אינו משבח, אלא יתכון באכילתו ושתיתו, שיהיה לו כח לעבודת הבורא. לפיכך לא יאכל כל שהחך מתאוה לו, ככלב וחמור אלא יאכל דברים המועילים וטובים לבריאות הגוף. ויש אנשי מעשה, שקדם אכילה אומרים: הנני רוצה לאכל ולשתת, כדי שאהיה בריא וחזק לעבודת הבורא יתברך שמו

My paraphrase/translation: How should eating and drinking be for the sake of heaven: It is obvious that one should not eat forbidden foods, only foods that are permitted. One should only eat if one is hungry, not solely for personal enjoyment but rather (and one should think about while eating that he is eating...) to have strength to serve God. Therefore one should not eat what one overly desires, like a dog or donkey, but rather what is healthy for the body. And there are accomplished men who, prior to eating, would say, "I hereby desire to eat and to drink so that I will be healthy and strong for the service of HaShem, Blessed Be He."

H/T seth j for that last part.

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