There is a passage that most stunningly captures this notion and takes it one step further. Recorded in the Babylonian wisdom texts, it is a strange symbolic conversation between God and his angels. “Why,” the angels ask of God, “do you accord the people of Israel your favor even when they are not deserving?” God responds, “How can I not? After all, in my Torah it says, ‘And you shall eat, be satisfied and give blessing.’ And the children of Israel give blessing even if they have only eaten an ‘olive’s worth’of food.”
The text refers to the biblical myth text injunction above we just mentioned which seems to indicate that one is only required to give blessing in thanks for food if one is fully satisfied. Nonetheless, continues the Talmudic passage, the children of Israel give blessing over food even when they are not satisfied, even when they have only eaten an olive’s worth.
Mystical master Aaron of Karlin unpacks the powerful wisdom of the passage. What the text suggests is that if you wait to be satisfied, to be ful-filled (kedai Seviah) until you have everything you desire, you will never be able to give blessing. Moreover, you will never experience your life as blessing. Spiritual greatness is about being able to experience satisfaction and blessing even when we only have an olive’s worth of fulfillment. The feeling of blessing emerges from the ability to experience the fullness of divine reality in every fraction of goodness. When I fully receive anything it is enough to make me full. This is the lover’s art of receiving and giving blessing. It is the secret of fulfillment.
The Erotic and the Holy