קדש עצמך במותר לך

The Talmud in Yevamot 20, says, קדש עצמך במותר לך, sanctify yourself with what is permitted to you. This continues the theme of Parshat Kedoshim of making ourselves holy because Hashem is holy.

The Rambam expands on this idea by saying that it's actually forbidden not to partake of that which is permitted. We are encouraged to marry, to wear nice clothes, and to live in a nice home. This is learned from the Nazir who has to offer a sin offering for the period he did not drink wine or cut his hair.

The point of the Rambam is that we elevate all that we do. We don't eat just to eat. We eat to be rejuvenated so that we will better be able to serve Hashem. The same is true with sleep or exercise that it is for the purpose that we are better able to serve G-d.

A student once told me that he brushed his teeth not only to have clean teeth. He brushed his teeth so that his mouth would be fresh and clean when he offered praises and thanksgiving to Hashem. This is how we explain קדש עצמך במותר לך.

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