Weekly Jewish Wisdom
August 18, 2016
Going for Gold
Has watching the Olympics inspired you to exercise or stretch your fitness goals? I've been pondering this question for the last two weeks and have sadly concluded that I've actually spent more time as a couch potato in front of the TV during the Olympics than I have all year. Having said that, I do feel nightly awe at the way human beings can push the body to be stronger, faster, more agile and more disciplined. Watching these athletes is almost a religious experience.
In many faith traditions, the body and soul are regarded as fierce adversaries. The soul is trapped in the body or a victim of the body's desires. The body pushes the soul off the straight and narrow track. This has hardly been the Jewish way. The body is a holy vessel that holds the soul. As such it needs careful tending. Many rabbis over the centuries have pointed to two verses in the beginning of Deuteronomy as proof that we must not harm the body, and we must take excellent care of it. "Do take utmost care and watch over yourselves scrupulously..." [4:9] and "Carefully guard your souls..." (4:15). The Olympics this year happens to converge with the reading of these verses. Coincidence? Maybe not.
Tweets on the Today's Page of Talmud (Daf Yomi)
"We are an impossibility in an impossible universe," Ray Bradbury.
Bava Kamma 84a: "When it's possible, it's possible. When it's not possible, it's not possible." But sometimes the impossible IS possible.
I'm always feeling like I'm lacking wisdom. This reassurance that one can ask God for that...is certainly reassuring to me. Francis Collins
Bava Kamma 83a: "Take your favors and throw them on the thorns" means that your reassurances come too late and are of no use.
Bava Kamma 82a: "Since the Jews traveled for three days without hearing Torah (Exodus 15), they became weary." Learning energizes people.
Bava Kamma 81a: "People have a right to take water from a spring (on private property)" as long as no damage is done to private property.