|Every individual is programmed to eat, and typically does so daily.
Yet it is not always true that a person enjoys the food he consumes.
Eating and the enjoyment of eating are two separate phenomena.
It is possible to eat food that nourishes the body, giving it everything it needs for sustenance, while the food itself is not at all enjoyable.
On the other hand, one could eat foods that are incredibly enjoyable and then die from malnutrition.
This is a choice that always lies before a person.
Does he want the thing itself, or the appearance of the thing?
Does a person prefer to be close to God, or to feel as though he is close to God?
There are a wide variety of methods a person can employ in order to feel uplifted and close to God, ranging from drug-induced states to an industry of artificial experiences.
But it is possible to be close to God without sensations of ecstasy, divine enlightenment, or spiritual pleasure.
This is not to say that it is impossible to feel a closeness to God, but that these two aspects – closeness to God and experiencing that closeness – are not connected.
There are times that a person will feel this closeness, and other times he will not.
The point here is that even in times when a person does not feel any closeness to God, he can console himself in the knowledge of God’s closeness to him.
He can rejoice in God who dwells with him in his Torah study and divine service, even though he may not have succeeded in resolving his personal issues and even though he may not be on the level of being able to feel that closeness.
Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz