Prepare for me delicacies, such as I love (27:4)

There are two kinds of gratification before G‑d: one, from the complete annihilation of evil by the righteous; the second, when evil is subdued while it is still at its strongest and most powerful, through the efforts of the ordinary man.1

This is the deeper significance of the verse, "Prepare for me delicacies, such as I love." The Almighty is speaking to the community of Israel, telling them that there are two kinds of gratification—delicacies, in the plural—which He seeks from them. The analogy is to earthly food, in which there likewise exist two kinds of relishes: sweet and luscious foods, and tart and sour foods which have been spiced and garnished so that they are made into delicacies which gratify the soul.

Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi

One day, Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov said to his disciples:

"In a nearby village lives a Reb Dovid, a simple Jew who ekes out a scant living by the toil of his hands. But despite his poverty, Reb Dovid was determined to acquire a top-quality etrog (citron) for the Sukkos festival, in order to observe the mitzvah of lulav and etrog in the optimum manner. All year he scraped and saved, denying himself his most essential needs. He then made the long, wearisome trip to the city, and returned with an etrog which the richest man in town could not match.

"Reb Dovid's wife was furious. With barely a crust of bread to put on the table, her husband goes and spends a small fortune on an etrog! In her rage and frustration she grabbed the etrog and bit off its tip, making it invalid for use on the festival.

"Reb Dovid held his peace. He saw the incident as a sign that he is unworthy of such a magnificent etrog. How presumptuous of me, he thought, to believe that a simple Jew such as myself could aspire to such an etrog . . .

"Never, since the day that Abraham bound Isaac upon the altar," the Baal Shem Tov concluded his story, "has a man withstood a test with such integrity as Reb Dovid displayed in refusing to be angered."