Monday, September 22, 2014

My Avodah

We all have areas in which we need to improve and work on ourselves. Often, these are very private matters that we don't talk about to others. However, I am going to share with you something that is one of my areas of personal struggle. The reason why I am publicizing it is that it is something that is quite clearly important for everyone, from a Jewish and every other perspective. Rambam, in particular, stresses its importance as a path to God. If one doesn't do it, one is likely directly and indirectly falling foul of numerous Torah and rabbinic directives. And yet many people in the Orthodox community do not show any concern whatsoever about it. I'm not being "holier than thou"; I freely acknowledge that I myself am very, very bad at this, even though I have been told (and I intellectually recognize) that it is extremely important for me. I can make all kinds of excuses, but they are inadequate. Bli neder, I am going to try to work on this area, and b'ezras Hashem, which will only be helpful if I make the effort, I shall improve at it.

Can you guess what I'm talking about?

Scroll down for the answer...









Exercise.

19 comments:

  1. Try DDP Yoga (http://ddpyoga.com) Its the only exercise program that got me to actually exercise.

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    Replies
    1. Yoga is for F*@s. Exercise with real exercises.

      TYJ

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    2. how did that comment get through? completely inappropriate, and of course, the person hides behind the curtain of anonymity. Rabbi Slifkin, you should remove this reply...

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  2. You have given me an opening to suggest another area of improvement for Yerushalmim. The bulk of my exercise is 40 minutes of walking every day except Shabbat and Yom Tov. It's boring. (My spouse walks too, separately, but she deals with the boredom by listening to audio books.) I entertain myself by picking up trash from the sidewalk and dropping it in the next convenient receptacle. Yerushalayim is a relatively dirty city and it would be cleaner if more of its residents picked up and disposed of some of the trash they see around them. Also if they didn't drop the trash on the sidewalk in the first place.

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  3. exercise, yes and diet. If the great poskim of our day were more aware of health issues, they would make it "ossur" to be obese.
    and for those that have heart disease or diabetes in their family history, science has identified many foods that substantially reduce the probability of suffering a heart attack or stroke.
    yet you rarely hear a peep.

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    Replies
    1. It already is. Here's some sources I gathered:
      · איתא בריטב"א בשבועות (כז.) בזה"ל "דלדברים הרעים קרי בבל תאכל לפי שהאדם אסור לאוכלן משום השמר לך." עוד כתב (שם לו.) על מה שאמרו דמקלל עצמו עובר בלאו דהשמר לך "וא״ת א״כ היאך הוא לוקה דהא דרשינן כמה מילי מהאי קרא, שלא יעמוד במקום סכנה, ושלא יאכל ולא ישתה דברים הרעים והו"ל לאו שבכללות." אצ"ל דמאכל רע, ולא סם המות, אינו סכנה כי אם בהצטברות.

      · בדרשות ופירושי רבנו יונה עמ' קע"ו מתיחס להדיא לענין ההצטברות וז"ל "שהתורה התמימה לא אסרה לנו דבר המועיל לקיום גופתינו, אע"פ שרבוי המאכל והמשתה מזיק, לא נתנה דבריה לשיעורין [להגיד לנו כמה מותר לאכול וכמה אסור], שאם כן אין לדבר סוף שהחולים יזיק להם אפילו מאכל מועט, וכבר נכלל כל זה באמרו השמר לך ושמור נפשך."

      · וכן מבואר בשו"ת זכרון יהודה (מכון ירושלים צוואה עמ' קע"ה) שכתב "והאכילה לגוף כשמן לנר, אם ירבה יאיר ואם ימעיט יכבה, ויותר מהרה יכבה ברוב מבמעט. וע"כ יש לכם להישמר ולהיזהר מאכילה גסה, ויותר עונש לאדם ההורג עצמו מהורג את אחרים."

      וכן מבואר בספר החרדים (פרק ס"ו אות צ"ד, מצות תשובה ד') "באכלך יותר על שובעך הפסדת כו', ואם יגרום חולי כמאמר רמב״ם (דעות פ"ד) הרי עברת על האזהרה ונשמרתם מאד לנפשותיכם, ואפשר לגרום מות על שונאך ודמך מידך יוצרך יבקש."

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  4. is the reason you are bad at it because of time constraints. then try 15 push ups a day. time 40 secs.

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    Replies
    1. For cardiovascular health you need to exercise much longer than that.

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    2. a little is better than nothing although point taken. for the time challenged there is high intensity interval training at 5 minutes a day although consult your doctor as there may be risks as well.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-intensity_interval_training

      http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/apr/15/andrew-marr-high-intensity-exercise-dangerous

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  5. Suggestion - post a specific commitment. Keep it modest and choose someone to hold you accountable (we, your loyal hasidim can play that role).

    example - I will fast walk for 20 minutes a day twice a week for the next 30 days. In +31 days you can report back. I did it - yes or no.

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  6. Many years ago I heard in the name of the Chasid Yavetz (not R. J. Emden) that shokelling during davening counts as exercise.

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    Replies
    1. Works only if it gets your pulse rate up to the rates listed here http://consumer.healthday.com/encyclopedia/exercise-and-fitness-18/misc-health-news-265/target-heart-rate-and-exercise-645779.html

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  7. Surely our bodies are different from theirs?

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  8. Well, it sounds like you just gave me a nice topic to put on my long list of potential blog discussions .... I hadn't thought of that one! But it would work so much better if we can somehow make that controversial ;-)

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  9. My Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Shneur Zalman Gafni Sh'lita, once said in an interview to Kfar Chabad magazine, that he had a private conversation (יחידות) with the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Rav Gafni said that his study habits in yeshiva were perhaps taking a toll on his health (he wasn't fasting, but he was still rather ascetic). The Rebbe responded that, since the Rambam says (Hilchos Deos 4:1) that since it's part of avodas Hashem to keep the body healthy and sound, anything that detracts from that cannot be called "avodas Hashem".

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  10. Is 'toning the temple' a mitzvah?

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  11. 5 lazy, obese slobs think this is kefira.

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  12. A nice way to start getting some exercise only takes a minute or two, has positive effects on your strength and mood, and is extremely easy to incorporate into your daily routine.

    I am talking about something very simple: doing some push-ups (say, 20, or however many you can do before being pretty exhausted) and/or sit-ups first things each morning. If you're not used to it, it can be hard at first, but once you've been doing it for a few days, it's not a problem at all.

    In my experience, even this small amount of strength training, which only takes 2-3 minutes each day, has the same effect on mood as a jolt of caffeine. Even though aerobic exercise has unique benefits, there is evidence that strength training is very important as well, and even helps build certain kinds of neurons in the brain.

    Hatzlacha!

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