There are those families who simply can’t afford going on a family vacation and therefore they end up in the local park, doing an activity as a family. Then there are those families who can afford to go on a luxurious vacation, and yet decide to stay home and do a family activity in the local park. While both families they may be found in the same local park together, their mindset is definitely not the same. The poor family was forced into the situation, and the other family chose this as their way to enjoy their vacation time.

The mishnah in Pirkei Avos (6:4) tells us that one should eat bread with salt and drink in small measure, and then one will have a good life. The Kesav Sofer says that we are referring to the person who has the ability to live the life of opulence and yet he chose to live a life of simplicity. The person who lives the simple downgraded lifestyle, not only does he have less stress, but actually, this lifestyle adds an aspect of serenity in regard to the physical world. This lifestyle also allows him to connect to Hashem on a higher level. For example, many of those who go to a hotel for Pesach feel they have no choice but to upgrade their wardrobe before they go. Whereas, those that stay home for the holiday can feel comfortable wearing what they have. (See Shulchan Aruch in regard to who must receive new clothing for the holiday).

Chazal tell us that there are those who may ask, as shemita approaches “What are we going to eat?”. To them Hashem responds, “You will have a bumper crop in the sixth year.” Our Rabbis teach us that those who were not concerned with how Hashem would provide for their needs were blessed that they would be able to eat only small amounts of food, yet were completely satiated. The meaning is that we all know that at the end of the day Hashem will provide for us, but yet, we set our own standard to what is necessary. Those who choose to live with less will at the end of the day be happier, due to not having to be preoccupied with caring for the extra labor necessary, caused by their extra needs.

As we prepare for Shavuos we should think about those in the desert, who chose not to bring any food with them but instead relied only on Hashem for their provisions. Even though they seemed to lack the ‘good life’, they were the ones who were indeed blessed with the ultimate relationship of being chosen as those to receive the Torah.