Shabbat Message 10/12/12
Rabbi Donni Aaron, JCC Jewish Educator
January 21, 2011
What Judaism Has To Say About Health and Fitness–Part II
Increasing the Heart Rate During Exercise You Shall Love the Lord your God With All Your Heart (from the Shema prayer, taken from Deutoronomy 6:5)
The Hebrew word for heart (lev) and its derivatives are mentioned 827 times in the Bible. This suggests that opening one's heart and acting based on the heart makes one a better person. Tefillin are placed on the arm to be near the heart. Midrash Rabbah describes the heart as a decision-making organ. Thus, a healthy heart, one that is strengthened through exercise and study, makes you a stronger and better person.
Maimonides' Prayer of the Physician "Almighty God, You have created the human body with your infinite wisdom.
In the body You have combined ten thousand times ten thousand organs that act continually and harmoniously to preserve the whole in all its beauty—the body which is the container of the mortal soul. They are ever-acting in perfect order, agreement and accord. Yet, when the frailty of matter or the unbridling passions interrupts this accord, then forces clash and the body crumbles. You send to people diseases as beneficent messengers to foretell approaching danger and to urge one to avert it.”
The above prayer reminds us that through exercise and fitness we can combat many future illnesses. We must take responsibility for our own health.
Read previous Shabbat messages here.