Humility in Food
Our Rabbis of Blessed Memory have told us about an ordinary shepherd who became very wealthy. Most wealthy people from such a background FILL themselves with their own importance. They usually claim to have worked their way up and those they have left behind are sloths.
Having seen the many wealthy people who became like this our former shepherd kept all of his simple utensils and clothing. He put these in a special room that only he had access to.
It is in this room that he had his meals and made his decisions. He would eat simple shepherd meals and wear his simple clothing. He also kept his shepherd staff and his flute. This served as a constant reminder of where he came from.
Keeping his diet simple aided him to overcome his inclination towards pride.
Every substance we put into our body is processed and incorporated into our very being. Rabbenu Behaye of fourteenth century Spain wrote a book on Dining habits called “Table of four.” In the Table of Four he states that certain finer foods enable people to think clearer. He states that those who stuff themselves with fatty red meat have trouble thinking. He suggests that one should eat fine poultry that is well guarded and fed the best grains. This poultry will sharpen the mind. (Gate 2)