Imagine inviting someone over for a fancy, four-course dinner. After serving the melon, they thank you and get up to leave. "Where are you going? We're just getting started. The...Read More
“Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity.”
“The secret of success is learning how to use pain and pleasure instead of having pain and pleasure use you. If you do that, you’re in control of your life. If you don’t, life controls you.”
– Tony Robbins
“People can have many different kinds of pleasure. The real one is that for which they will forsake the others.”
– Marcel Proust
When you have eaten your fill, give thanks to Hashem your God for the good land which He has given you.
– Deuteronomy 8:10
That is to say, after you have eaten and have been satisfied, and you are close to throwing off the yoke of the commandments, “You shall bless God” at the very moment… in order for his body to be healthy and strong, he should pursue what pleases [his intellect] and his Creator, for his organs are combined and possess the capacity exactly in the measure that enables him to bear the yoke of the Torah and its commandments.
– Shulchan Shel Arba 2:6
The pleasures of this world should only be used for aiding and assisting him, so that he will have tranquility and peace of mind in order to free his heart for this service incumbent upon him.
– Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, Mesilat Yesharim 1:27
Jewish psychologist Abraham Maslow is famous for his rubric Man’s Hierarchy of Needs. Maslow’s idea was fully expressed in his 1954 book Motivation and Personality. The hierarchy remains a very popular framework in sociology research, management training, and secondary and higher psychology instruction. Maslow’s classification hierarchy has been revised over time. The original hierarchy states that a lower level must be completely satisfied and fulfilled before moving onto a higher pursuit. However, today scholars prefer to think of these levels as continuously overlapping each other. This means that the lower levels may take precedence back over the other levels at any point in time.
The gist of his research illustrates how we are not a mere bundle of wants and desires. There is a clear order to our concerns. Maslow enumerated five levels. First are our physiological needs: for food and shelter, the basic requirements of survival. Next come safety needs: protection against harm done to us by others. Third is our need for love and belonging. Above that comes our desire for recognition and esteem, and higher still is self-actualization: fulfilling our potential, becoming the person we feel we could and should be. In his later years Maslow added a yet higher stage: self-transcendence, rising beyond the self through altruism and spirituality.
It’s interesting to note that the five levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs thematically resemble Rabbi Noah Weinberg’s five levels of pleasure: physicality, love, purpose, creativity, and spirituality.
Today, define what the five levels of pleasure mean to you personally. Commit to being mindful every day of what brings you pleasure within the five levels and look for opportunities to nurture and grow your relationship to each one.