Saturday, February 26, 2005

"Do you drink?" "Yes...religiously"

Last semester, I was talking to a girl in my class about how we have wine before meals on holy days (Shabbos, Y"T, etc). She asked how old we allow a child to drink. I thought it was a funny question-why should there be a limit on the age that one could drink? It then occured to me that there's a difference between me and the average university student when it comes to wine. When we drink, it's for holiness-to elevate ourselves and reach new heights. When one drinks only to get high, there is no beauty, only lack of control.

I went to the broadcast of R' Reisman's shiur tonight. Unfortunately, the connection stopped working in the middle, but fortunately, they showed a different shiur. One which I felt was addressed to me personally, considering what's planned for my life this Tuesday ;)

He spoke about wine. Wine is the only food (or beverage, as the case may be) that improves with age. There are some foods, yes, that will last a long time, but wine is the only thing that actually becomes better when left over a long period of time. In truth, it's probably the only material object that gets better with time. Even the human body, after many years, begins to slow down and 'get rusty'.

It is for this reason that we use wine at our holy times and special occasions (which are also holy times ;) ). We want to remind ourselves that there IS one thing that, like wine, gets better with time. This is not our physical bodies, but our spiritual selves. As one grows older (hint, hint), we have a choice. We can rot in the way that most things age, or we can choose to be like wine-become better, greater, and worth more to everyone around us.

So as I reach a milestone in my life, marking another year off the calendar of my life, I hope that I (and all of us) only grow upwards, never "rotting", but making the most of our time here, and using it to the greatest of our capabilities.


Jockey said...

gems take a really long time to form, so they also get better with age, as does charcoal, which burns hotter as it ages.

TRW said...

I knew someone was going to do this...

Gems-they get better? Only because of our modern fixation with wealth...without its monetary value, what use does it have?

Charcoal isn't a good example-it's only hot with fire, an 'additive', if you will, which wine does not technically need. Charcoal can't stand alone. And even fire burns out as it "ages".

T. "B." M. said...

Happy Birthday! :)

So, come one, give us a brochoh. ;)

TRW said...

My English one's Tuesday. The real one isn't till next Tuesday...but never fear, you'll get that bracha!

Jen said...

RYC on 2/24/05:
Oh. What I meant, I guess, is the Hasidim. For example, my husband lived in L.A. and would often run into Orthodox Jews there who were wearing black hats, black coats, the long beards, the peyos, etc. So, of course, they really stood out. So that was my mother's question. If religious Jews don't want to appear conspicuous, why wear the exact same clothing style as each other and one that is sooo different from those around them?

I kind of wonder this myself. Don't get me wrong. I adore the Hasidim. I secretly want to be one. I do wonder why it is customary for them to dress like they're straight out of 19th-century Russia. Why not just plain old suits like modern Orthodox?

Maybe it is, in fact, that they DO want to stand apart from the rest? No problem there, of course. It just doesn't jive with what R. Silverman said.

T. "B." M. said...

"My English one's Tuesday. The real one isn't till next Tuesday...but never fear, you'll get that bracha!"
Yay! I can't wait!

Conservative Apikoris said...

Your rabbi is wrong. Wine is not the only food that improves with age. Cheese also improves with age. Of course, those who insist on eating only hekhshered cheese don't know this, becuase the only hekhshered cheese available in the US is the extruded plastic sold by the World Cheese Comapny. (i.e Migdal, Millers, etc.) Frtunately, we Conservatives have more flexibility in this matter.

I also recently purchased some Basmati rice in which they specified the year of the rice crop, which makes me suspect that Indians consider aged rice a delicacy.

TRW said...

And yet cheese gets moldy if left out too long...but nice try!