10 Cheshvan 5782 / Saturday, October 16, 2021 | Torah Reading: Lech Lecha
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Instant and Expensive    

Instant and Expensive

We don't sacrifice a lifetime for instant pleasures; we replace them with an ongoing satisfaction. Our lives are filled with love, energy, and consistent blessing…


Life is one huge investment. If you put all your money into the instant payout, you stand to lose everything. You risk going back to zero. Even worse, you risk breaking below zero and having to dig yourself out of the hole before you can rise up again.


If you build up your willpower, and develop the ability to be patient, life becomes an uphill journey. Yes, the gradient is always challenging, but you are always moving upward and the view just gets better.


Take money for example. We can spend it all right now and be happy. We can take our hard earned money and travel to a paradise island somewhere in the Caribbean. We get the pleasure right now, but we used up everything we worked for to get it. What if we put a 10-day cruise on the most luxurious vessel on our Visa? We get the goods, but now we owe money.


What if we went on a 3-day camping trip? What if we took the kids to the zoo? What if we went hiking all day? It's a great time. We enjoy a little, but there is still something left in the account when we return. If we develop the discipline to resist the urge to "party hard," over a lifetime we have countless experiences that are unforgettable, and we also have a large amount of cash generating nice returns.


The same holds true for how we decide to use the body Hashem gave us.


Sure, anyone can go into a bar and say the right things to the right person and wind up using the body in a way it wasn't intended to be used. Let's be honest: it's a form of pleasure. If it wasn't, the mitzvah of Shmirat Habrit (literally "guarding the covenant", i.e., personal holiness) wouldn't be one of the most difficult to fulfill.


But the pleasure is immediate, yet the costs are expensive and long term. Once the overnight thrill recedes into memory, the long term heaviness, depression, and overall sluggishness persists. A lifetime of instant gratification can make you very underproductive.


What happens when we make the long-term investment? What happens when we get married, and decide that the happiness of using our bodies in the right way, at the right time, with the right person is best? We don't sacrifice a lifetime for instant pleasures; we replace them with an ongoing satisfaction. Our lives are filled with love, energy, and consistent blessing. The strength Hashem gives us is gradual, and gets stronger over time.


The same applies for food.


Anyone can order a kosher burger with fries on the side, followed by a parve seven layered cake. We can do this every day. Surrendering to our impulses, we can eat as much of whatever we want. The consequences are that over the long run we will become overweight. We will not be able to run. We may have trouble feeling confident with our appearance. We run a high risk of getting life altering, or even life threatening diseases like diabetes, hypertension, or heart disease.


What if we press ourselves to eat right? To eat less? To chew our food twice as long so we can live on half as much? The long term investment of sacrificing what we want now for what we want forever pays off as we sleep less, live longer, and have more vibrancy and energy throughout each day.


The rules Hashem gives us are for our own good. Developing the habit to resist something impure or non-kosher extends into the ability to police ourselves to get the absolute most out of our own existence.


Thank You Hashem for being the Ultimate Life Coach.

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