Rabbi Avigdor Miller on Abstinence
Q: How should a person know when to enjoy this world and on the other hand when to be a porush, an abstainer, from this world?
A: And the answer is, whatever is good for your health you should use and enjoy in this world. If you like to eat bread and butter and it’s also good for you, or if you like to eat chicken and it's good for you, why not?! Eat! But eat it b'simcha. Don't say “I don't like to eat.” No, don’t say that. You have to have appetite; eat with appetite and the saliva will flow – it helps you to digest. The stomach juices flow and it helps you digest the food properly. Appetite helps you digest. Enjoy the food and at the same time ואכלת ושבעת וברכת את השם אלוקיך – thank Him. Any enjoyment you get from food or anything else in this world, thank Hashem, thank Hashem, thank Hashem! That’s the purpose of all enjoyment in this world.
However, sometimes when people become enslaved to certain things, it’s a ruination. You must be a porush from things that will enslave you. Let’s he's enslaved to cigarettes; in the beginning maybe he just enjoyed cigarettes but he's enslaved to it now. That’s a ruination of a life. Don't be a slave to anything except to Hakodosh Boruch Hu. A slave to cigarettes?! No. Anybody who becomes a slave, so Hashem says, “You’re competing with My service.” Not only cigarettes. You can become a slave even to things that are superfluous to eat; always wanting to nosh things. Don't be a slave to nosh – it's not healthy. Anything that good and healthy however, you have a right to eat and you should enjoy it and thank Hakodosh Boruch Hu for it.