If you want to know what it feels like to be a granola bar, try this guided meditation:

Imagine you are a miserably poor epicurean hedonist wannabe invited to a hyper-excessive mega-extravagant wedding/bar mitzvah/product release dinner. Knowing that this event is catered by the world's best chefs, you starve yourself for three days in advance. You arrive at 6PM sharp for the rabbit-food entrée. Then there are speeches. Then a second rabbit entrée to make your ears yet longer so you can hear more speeches. Your stomach is growling, your mouth salivating, your dinner conversation has become unintelligible and your head is shifting towards extreme migraine mode as the aroma wafts out of the kitchen and throughout the hall.

Finally, by 9:30 PM, they're serving the main course—starting at the other end of the hall. Waiter after waiter dashes by, providing you uncensored viewing of the Osso Bucco Bourguignon dressed with rare herbs and surrounded by delicately perked garden-picked veggies. The migraine is pounding. Your hands sweat. Your tablemates have found empty seats elsewhere.

Finally, you are the last one served. Knife and fork in trembling hand, you dig in, morsel-to-mouth, anticipating the ecstasy of your long-awaited nirvana-in-a-bite.

Your face pales as the blood drains to your toes and the fork falls from your hand.

Your osso bucco is cold. Cold and greasy.

Now imagine you are incarnated as ossu bucco. Not any particular ossu bucco, but the concept, the idea that formed in some Italian chef's mind and materialized in this form. In essence, you are a spark that fell from the world of Tohu at the pre-dawn of creation. Your entire purpose of being is to be redeemed, repaired and rehabilitated by a neshama that must descend to the material world just for that purpose. For thousands of years, you have recycled throughout the earth, unfulfilled, suspended in anticipation. And now, your destiny has transported you to its final station: You are ossu bucco.

Finally, one day, along comes a neshama, discovers you at a grand hyper-extravagant to-do and determines that you are to be eaten. And just before eating, this neshama recalls that, "Hey, I'm not one of these materialist hedonists. I'm still in control over here. I've got to say a bracha first, to transform this into a G‑dly act. And then, with the energy of this Italian whatever-it-is-mushy-stuff, I'll say some words of Torah and find some wonderful mitzvah to do."

Your moment of glory has arrived. After all those thousands of years of mundane earth-wandering, you are finally privileged to collaborate in a G‑dly act. Finally, you shall be redeemed and reunited with the Infinite Light from whence you fell. You could just burn up in the heat of anticipation, but you muster up the strength to hold together and play your part as a good osso bucco as best you can.

And then your redeemer mumbles a hasty bracha and you are consumed.

You were hot. The bracha was cold. And you ask yourself, "For this I waited all those millennia?"

In truth, every rock, every plant, every creature that walks the earth, every star and every angel, even the highest emanations of the most supernal worlds—all were created to be redeemed, as it says, "that G‑d created to do." "To do," the sages explain, means to be repaired. The rock sits unfulfilled, the angel sings its song daily in prolonged anticipation and those supernal emanations too suffer the ulcers of hyperextended suspense in wait for the moment a breath of G‑d, a neshama, to walk on the scene and do a mitzvah, an act of beauty, or even just learn a lesson of divine wisdom using them as a metaphor, and thereby redeem them.

Which is why all that we do, we must do with simcha—with a celebration. Because, if not, we are just another cold, greasy osso bucco.