Q: Are people who overeat wicked? In Proverbs 13:25 it says “The righteous person eats to the satiation of his soul, but the stomach of the wicked is always lacking.” There are many people for whom eating is a way of filling a void in their lives. They are not wicked, but are, in fact deprived of joy, ill, and unhappy. For them, eating fills this vast, painful sensation of emptiness. They suffer from a disease that is similar to all addictive diseases. Although there may be gluttons who eat just for the pleasure of tasting, I feel that to make such a generalization and call those who eat beyond satiation wicked is insensitive and exclusive. And even gluttons or those who practice any obsessive or compulsive behavior have an illness that can be treated if diagnosed properly.
A: Certainly, not everyone who eats beyond satiation is wicked, G-d forbid. What we can understand from this verse is that when a person is focused outside himself, he leaves plenty of room for God to enter his consciousness, and is naturally oriented toward righteousness. One the other hand, if he is focused on his own physical needs and desires, there is very little room for God to enter his consciousness, and he is more naturally oriented toward wickedness. This situation can be rectified simply (albeit with hard work) by focusing less on one’s own physical needs and desires and more on the needs of others. This automatically diminishes a person’s self-consciousness and draws down Heavenly mercy, which in turn helps the person to diminish his self-consciousness even more.