Thursday, March 19, 2009

Tayvos Achila & Achila D'Kedusha

I often tell people that I am fat person trapped in a skinny person's body. I may appear skinny on the outside, however, inside I have a ravenous appetite for food and greatly enjoy eating.

Attempting to control my tayvos achila (the desire to overeat) has been something I have struggled with for years. Whenever I am able to subdue it, it regathers strength and comes back and shows me just how powerful it is and just how weak I am.

At the point when I feel that I have satiated my hunger my yetzer hara prompts me to eat more - and then sometimes even desert on top that! I do exercise by running on the treadmill at least three times a week, however, I am running so I can eat more without putting on weight; I am running so I can eat that deep dish pizza, shwarwa in a laffa, or giant helping of bread pudding.

In order to wage a sucessfull counter-offensive against my yetzer hara, I decided that I must adhere to a strict week-day regimen that consisted of three items:

1) Never initiate talk about food or eating.

2) Only to eat while sitting.

2) End each meal while still desiring another bite and leave a bit of food remaining on my plate.

In order to make sure that my plans were not totally off base, I called the Sudilkover Rebbe. The Rebbe first asked me to define tayvos achila. He then asked me a number of detailed questions, including why I thought that this was the tayva that I needed to work on. Hearing my answers, he concluded that I had judged myself too harshly. The Rebbe then told me to call back the next day so he would have a chance to consider a proper plan of action for me.

I called him back the next day and told him about the three item regimen that I had devised. The Rebbe was extremely pleased with these suggestions, encouraged me to abide by them, and then suggested three more:

1) Eat food as it is prepared for you no matter how it tastes, even if you would prefer otherwise.

2) Put the fork down between each bite.

3) Never lower your head to food; sit straight and bring food to your mouth.

Of these total six items, I continue to find that the three items suggested by the Rebbe are the most challenging. In all honesty, I can't say that I have been too successful with his last two items and I am still attempting to abide by them on a consistent basis. Nevertheless, I have found that making it a practice to finish a meal while still desiring another bite has significantly lessened my tayvos achila. I will be sure to report back in the future regarding my progress with these five items and my attempt to turn my eating into true achila d'kedusha.


At March 19, 2009 at 12:49:00 PM EDT, Blogger Shmerl said...

The last was the practice of the Rizhiner (he didn't lower his head). It's very hard to eat liquids (like soup) neatly this way though.

At March 19, 2009 at 12:52:00 PM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Bahaltener: You are 100% about the difficulty eating like this. The Rebbe mentioned to me that he had to train himself from the time he was young in order to be able to eat soup in this manner.

At March 19, 2009 at 1:49:00 PM EDT, Blogger Batya said...

Most of the advice makes sense, except for the Rebbe's first. I say, "If you don't like it, don't eat it." Also, "Don't eat to please others." "Don't eat when you're not hungry."

At March 19, 2009 at 2:20:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saying a perek Tehilim between each bite helped me tremendously.
Good luck in your battle.

At March 19, 2009 at 2:26:00 PM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Emunatidbits: I am impressed! I have a hard enough time just putting down the fork in between bites...

At March 20, 2009 at 9:52:00 AM EDT, Blogger john doe said...

Not to nitpick, but I think there are actually six suggestions, as you counted the second one twice. Love the blog!

At March 20, 2009 at 9:56:00 AM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

John Doe: Now you know why I got C's and D's in math! ;) I fixed the text. Thank you.

At March 20, 2009 at 12:05:00 PM EDT, Blogger Chaviva Gordon-Bennett said...

Another good tip I recently heard was this: Hold your fork in your non-dominant hand and your knife in your dominant hand. This way, you have to think carefully and act precisely while you eat. It makes sense and I think I might give it a try this Shabbos.

But your tip about not standing while eating is probably the most important. I also try not to do something else while I'm eating (reading, watching TV, etc) because when you are doing something else, you're not focused on the food and the entire act of eating loses it's special, singular significance.

At April 22, 2009 at 2:34:00 AM EDT, Anonymous mother in israel said...

My kids would spill all their food on their lap if they sit up straight

At March 27, 2013 at 3:55:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Ish Tam said...

Gentlemen, nice tips for eating, please note that Yitzhak Buxbaum has a comprehensive section on eating in his "Jewish Spiritual Practices" which is a great summary over large number of seforim with Hanhagot for eating, your are welcome to see a short summary here:

Eating in Holiness – b’Kedusha


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