Did you ever try getting hungry children to cooperate? Cranky and unreasonable, they simply can’t focus until they get their next bite. Ever try concentrating while your stomach was rumbling for its next meal? Hard to pull off without fantasizing about food. When your basic needs aren’t met, even the simplest task seems impossible.

Rebbetzin Rivkah, the wife of the fourth Chabad Rebbe, was once quite ill, and the doctor directed her to eat as soon as she woke up in the morning. However, she hesitated, as she usually prayed first thing in the morning, in keeping with the Jewish law that prayer be the first priority of the day.1 When her father-in-law hea her dilemma, he remarked, “A Jew needs to be strong and healthy to serve G‑d. If, in fact, prayer is the priority, then it is better to eat in order to have energy to pray than to pray in order to have what to eat.”

Rather than praying “to get it over with” while thinking about food the entire time, it is better to eat with the intention to have our mind clear for prayer. In that way, food becomes a means to an end—we nourish our body so it will have energy to nourish our soul.

Thoughtstream: Today, I will make time for my priorities without trying to "get them over with.”

(Adapted from Hayom Yom, 10th Shevat.)