Rabbi Milevsky's Thought of the Week: Re'Eh - 5778
ALL FOR THE SAKE OF HEAVEN
Ma’aser Sheni is a Torah obligation to set aside one-tenth of agricultural produce and take it to Yerushalayim. Once there, the food is consumed within the city, thus fulfilling the Mitzvah.
This very special Mitzvah helps in establishing the centrality of Yerushalayim in day-to-day Jewish life. At the time of ingathering of the yield of the field, our geographical heart is in our physical heart as well.
An additional message of the Mitzvah is to channel our physical desires in the proper direction. Food could bring out the worst behaviour in human beings. Anyone who has ever worked at a food service facility can testify to this sad fact.
The Torah guides a person to live all aspects of their life for the sake of heaven, including the consumption of food. Thus, the Jew is told to set aside a portion of the produce and eat it in Yerushalayim - an environment of spirituality - such that he can learn that even the most physical act must be done in a proper way and within the guidelines of the Torah.