Chapter 31: 1-3
Intentions for the Sake of Heaven
1. [Berochos 63a] states: "Which is a short passage on which the entire body of
Torah is dependent? 'Know Him in all your ways'" (Proverbs 3:6). This means
that even in the paths you follow for the sake of your physical needs, you must
know G-d and carry out these functions for His name's sake, blessed be He.
For example: eating, drinking, walking, sitting, laying, getting up, sexual
relations, conversation - all the needs of your body - should be seen as
part of your service of your Creator, or as something which leads to His
2. How does this apply regarding eating and drinking? It is unnecessary to say
that one should not eat prohibited foods. Rather, even with regard to permitted
foods, if one is hungry or thirsty and eats or drinks for the sake of his own
pleasure, it is not commendable. On the contratry, one should eat and drink
with the intention ofderiving strength to serve the Creator.
Therefore, one should not eat everything which is pleasing to the palate, like
a dog or a donkey. Rather, one should eat those things that are beneficial
to the body's well-being. There are meticulous individuals who, before eating,
say: "I want to eat and drink to be healthy and strong in order to serve the
Creator, blessed be His name."
3. How does this apply with regard to sitting, getting up, and walking? It is
unnecessary to say that one should not sit among jesters, stand in the manner
of the sinners, or walk according to the counsel of the wicked. Rather, even
when one sits in the forum of the upright, stands in the place of the
righteous, and follows, the advice of the sincere - if one did so for one's own
benefit, to satisfy one's own desires and wants - this is not praiseworthy. One
should do so for the sake of Heaven. Nevertheless, if one cannot carry out
these activities for the sake of Heaven, one should not refrain from them.
Serving G-d for one's privite interest will ultimately lead to serving G-d for
for His sake.