As Christmas tree lights in a sukkah
We just read, at the beginning of the Torah, a beautiful and deep layout of the world G^d gave us. Yet, there are ultra-Orthodox Jews who dare to say this world is nothing. Of course, they don’t think deeply when they say this. They’re just parroting what is now common to say in their circles.
They don’t know that they fell victim to assimilation. It says in the Greek/Christian Bible (John 18:36): “My kingdom is not of this world.” Christians focus on Heaven, Reward in the Afterlife, and the End of Times on Earth. With that, all earthly enjoyment is not only futile but also sinful.
My advantage of having lived in a Christian culture. I recognize it.
Judaism demands we enjoy this world, though, always within limits. No all enjoyment, not always, not endlessly. Amazingly, the Sages list kosher pleasures that taste exactly the same for each forbidden enjoyment.
One Yeshiva head at 80 insisted to travel to Switzerland. But Rabbi, if you need a rest, there are plenty of places here in Israel to visit. The Rabbi: I don’t need a break. I’m afraid I will be told at my Heavenly trial: I created the Alpes, but you never took the trouble to enjoy their majestic view.
A Nazirite needs to bring a sin offering when s/he stops with this holy vow to abstain from certain pleasures (and other things). But which sin is then admitted? Two opinions about this are both valid. One is to atone for having abstained. The other is that he discontinues his holy status.
A friend of mine is an Orthodox rabbi. He told me his wife told him she needed a new cupboard. He said: “The Chofetz Chayim didn’t have a cabinet.” A visitor stunned once asked the Chofetz Chayim: “Where is all your furniture?” He answered: “Where is yours?” He said: “I’m just traveling. I don’t take it with me when I travel.” He said: “Neither do I. I’m only traveling in this world.” My friend’s wife responded: “When you will be the Chofetz Chayim, I won’t need a cabinet.” He bought her a cabinet.
If a Jew forgoes tasting any permissible pleasure, he throws away a Divine present and sins. Stupidity will make him suffer in this world and the next.
So, Jews who don’t (modestly) partake of all the permissible good in this world are not saintly. They are assimilated. And they don’t know it.