Health and Fitness – A Sound Soul in a Sound Body

Health and Fitness

A Sound Soul in a Sound Body

 

Chapter 1. Why is it Important to Have a Healthy Body?

 

Wisdom

Your body belongs to G-d

 

The truth is that your body is not yours to treat as you wish.

 

Your body belongs to G-d, who gave it to you to care for, as a vehicle to carry your soul through life.

 

Wisdom

 

Just as you would not harm another person, just as you wouldn’t harm anything G-d has created, you should not harm your own body.

 

Practice

 

It is your duty to eat healthy, to rest, to stay fit, and to treat your body with respect in every way.

 

Practice and Theory

 

Physical fitness, is not arbitrary or optional; it is part of your responsibility to G-d.

 

Practice

 

On the other hand, worshiping the body is unacceptable.

 

Wisdom

The body is a vehicle for the Soul

 

The body is a vehicle for the soul. This is its value; it is not an end onto itself.

 

Wisdom

 

Many people today are health conscious. Indeed entire industries have sprung up around exercise and nutrition.

 

We understand that being healthy makes us feel better, makes us more productive, and can ultimately lengthen our lives.

 

We realize that when we are healthy, we can concentrate on family and work, and the other things that are important to us.

 

But most significantly, a sound body allows you to concentrate on your soul enabling you to fulfill your Divine mission in this world and live a meaningful life.

 

Chapter 2 What is Good Health?

 

Wisdom

Good health is a sound soul in a sound body

 

Good health is far more than a physical body that functions properly, much more than having a temperature of 98.6 degrees.

 

Good health is a sound soul in a sound body.

 

Modern medicine has begun to discover the dramatic effect that a person’s spirit can have on the healing process.

 

People with healthy optimistic spirits for example, have been shown to have stronger immune systems; psychologically too we are increasingly learning that a person’s physical health is directly affected by his or her faith in G-d.

 

Even a small weakness in the spirit can create a profound blemish in the body.

 

Practice and Theory

 

This is why it is imperative to instill the sick with hope and confidence in their recovery.

 

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Trust in G-d is a source of great comfort, especially when a patient must enter a hospital.

 

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This comfort is the best medicine to fight off the demoralization that accompanies illness, which is often as damaging as the illness itself.

 

Practice

 

This is also why we must visit the sick. Besides the fact that is it an obvious moral obligation, visiting a sick person shows him that he is cared for, which bolsters his confidence and hope.

 

This in turn, helps strengthen his determination to heal.

 

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Even though the physical environment of a hospital may depress a patient, awareness of the great potential help in medicine and doctors creates a certain peace of mind and a receptivity to healing.

 

Practice and Theory

 

Just as the body is nourished by certain foods, the soul needs spiritual nourishment.

 

This nourishment includes an awareness of one’s mission in life and an awareness of G-d, who has empowered us with the abilities to fulfill that mission.

 

Practice and Theory

 

A healthy soul connects to G-d through study, prayer and virtuous acts.

 

Practice and Theory

 

As you fulfill your moral and spiritual obligation, your soul is fed with Divine energy, just as your body is fueled with material energy though the intake of food.

 

Practice and Theory

 

It is important to see that every aspect of your physical fitness has a spiritual component.

 

When you eat, you should acknowledge that the food is not just meant for simple indulgence, but to generate the vitality necessary to lead a meaningful life.

 

When we go to bed with a humble recognition of G-d and a serious appraisal of our day’s activities, the soul is allowed to drink from the regenerative spiritual waters during sleep.

 

Chapter 3 What is the role of a doctor?

 

Practice and Theory

G-d gives permission and power for a doctor to heal

 

One might wonder: Since it is G-d who gives life and heals, perhaps humans should not meddle in such affairs. But the sages tell us that G-d “gives permission and power for a doctor to heal.”

 

Practice and Theory

 

We must do everything within our power to care for ourselves and we must be persistent in finding the best care.

 

But one should turn to a doctor and not rely on one’s own analysis or intuitions.

 

Practice and Theory

 

It is wise, particularly in serious situations to get the advice of two independent doctors, preferable including one whom you know personally and who is sensitive to your individual situation.

 

Wisdom

The Doctors Influence

 

The role of a doctor is obviously an important one – firstly, because he of all people appreciates the effect of the spirit on the body, and secondly, because he has earned the trust of a patient and can therefore exert a strong influence.

 

Practice and Theory

 

A doctor should use this trust to motivate the patient to improve both his physical and spiritual health.

 

Practice and Theory

The Doctors Responsibility

 

He must recognize the great responsibility that G-d has vested in him, he cannot refuse someone in need.

 

Practice and Theory

Humility in the Practice of Medicine

 

A doctor must also have the humility to know that, while he may be the one treating the patient, the power to heal comes from G-d.

 

Practice and Theory

 

A doctor must not be arrogant; he must be sensitive and concerned over his patient’s welfare, because, after all, he is caring for G-d’s property.

 

Practice and Theory

 

For all the authority that G-d has given a doctor, nowhere has a doctor been given the right to condemn a human being as incurable.

 

Practice and Theory

 

A doctor has no right to weaken the hope of a patient, because as is written in Exodus “G-d is the healer,” and we know not of G-d’s mysterious ways.

 

Practice and Theory

 

So even if a doctor is pessimistic, we must remember that there are higher forces at work.

 

Practice and Theory

 

Above all a doctor must recognize that he has been chosen by G-d as an instrument of healing.

 

Chapter 4 How Do We Achieve Fitness of Body and Soul?

 

Practice and Theory

Good Health is Our Responsibility

 

Although G-d in his kindness has given us doctors, the responsibility to care for our body and soul lies primarily with ourselves.

 

Practice and Theory

 

Initially, of course, preventive medicine is the best option, this includes acknowledging the root of a problem and not just its symptoms.

 

Identifying and attacking the root of a problem and explaining it to a person can help avoid the problem, or heal it at its source.

 

Practice and Theory

A Sound Soul in a Healthy Body

 

When we are struck with an illness or by an accident, we must be in no way reluctant to use medicine.

 

G-d has created certain substances with healing and regenerative powers.

 

He has also given man the ability to mix these substances and to manipulate chemical structures to create various medicines.

 

These substances must be appreciated for what they are: a means by which G-d enables us to care for our bodies and souls.

 

Practice and Theory

 

To use such substances recklessly or needlessly is to violate the very reason for their existence.

 

Practice and Theory

 

Initially, the body and soul are adversaries, each struggling for dominance.

 

Eventually, though, they must learn to appreciate each other.

 

The soul needs a sound body to express itself.

 

The body needs to recognize the soul’s authority.

 

This recognition is a key to good health, for a strong soul lessens the body’s selfish demands.

 

That is not to say that the body should be denied its material needs.

 

The intention is not to weaken the body, but to discipline and refine it so it can serve as a proper vehicle for the soul’s expression.

 

Practice and Theory

 

There are two phases to this process of self-refinement:

 

The first is to recognize that without the direction of the soul, the body may indulge at will often leading to destructive ends.

 

The body enables us to conquer and harness the pure physical energy, for the soul.

 

The soul once strengthened will in turn feed the body with all the energy it needs to prosper.

 

Practice and Theory

 

So the next time you exercise and feel reenergized realize that you have just reenergized a precious piece of G-d’s property.

 

As you breathe in deeply, or eat a healthy meal, realize that you are investing in a valuable commodity.

 

But also remember that a healthy body is not an end in itself, only a means to achieve a healthy soul and spirit.

 

Wisdom

 

Furthermore the health of your body is dependent on the health of your soul. And it is your responsibility to nourish them both.

 

Practice and Theory

 

When your body or souls cries out, recognize the symptoms for what they are: an urgent request for you to address their needs, be they spiritual or physical.

 

Practice and Theory

 

As much as we have learned about medicine, and the influence of the spirit on our physical well-being, we must continue to explore this influence and recognize it in our daily lives.

 

We stand poised at the threshold of a new medicine – when body and spirit will live in complete harmony, eliminating illness and disease.

 

Take advantage of this opportunity.

 

Your health and well being, your very life, depend on it.

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