July 29, 2008

Workout, fitness and Torah My test

Filed under: deep reflections — Reb Moshe @ 5:10 am

There are many sources in Judaism speaking about the importance of a healthy lifestyle. As an experiment, I thought I would try to take this to an extreme, at least compared to my regular routines. For 8months, I joined the gym, exercising, swimming and lifting weights. I wanted to know if I grounded myself in this way physically, would it produce more spiritual benefits as well.
While I might have bigger biceps (actualy huge, lol- kidding) and physical strength, I must admit I am somewhat disappointed in other results. Yes it gave me some discipline but not as much as I expected. I even changed much of my eating habits to be more healthy, taking in lower fat and higher protein. But personally, at least so far, I can’t look someone in the face and say, I have grown from this experience. I do feel it was a great to meet new people at the gym and it is nice to step away from responsibility but at the same time, this has also bore me some guilt because of the commitment involved. At the same time, I can’t look my family in the face with a shortened life expected life due to an absence of exercising and a good diet. So, I will continue my testing. Hoping that all pathways that are done for the sake of Heaven, will lead me closer to Hashem.


  1. In deep mental illness, many years ago, I jumped off the Queensborough Plaza overpass, onto Queens Blvd. (Today, there’s an iron mesh screen, so that nothing falls from above.). That no car was coming, that I landed “just so,” that the feet that “would never walk again” walked fine, for thirty years (while I was recovering from the insanities of a less-than grown-up personality) was stark proof that the Beloved cradled me then, as He does, more and more—I am especially blessed. Back, at the beginning of the mystical wonderment, which is my last thirty-five years, as I lie, catatonic, in my urine, soaked on a cot in the basement of the Moony estate in Tarrytown, New York, from the devout followers of the good reverend, I heard these words,

    “What amazing mission must lie in store for this man, that G-d takes him to this depth! This person has followed G-d into such profound wretchedness. How long will be the climb! (HOW HIGH THE MOON?!)

    And so, I’ve been climbing up “the ladder,” lo these many years and I have the glow, now (the aura), of a person people enjoy being around (filled with the spirit of G-d!)

    I’ve become a better-than-good writer, which served me well, now that I had to leave my job, working in the mental health field, as a peer advocate. I left because the cartilage, in my left patched-up ankle, was all worn-out and I could no longer walk, except with sharp, piercing pain.

    To jump to the chase—This has all been an interesting prelude to a response to your blog. I had to go through prolonged physical therapy at Beth Israel Medical Cente, here, in The City. I learned to love that type of environment, set up, as it is, with the best equipment.; I resolved that, should I ever have the money to pay for such a thing, I WANT to join a gym, to use the good equipment! I never thought I’d be saying THAT!

    …It’s another case of character and lifestyle willingness growth—readiness for change. Such is the climb “up the ladder to the heavens!”

    Comment by Paul Chipkin — July 29, 2008 @ 12:13 pm

  2. Thank you Reb Moshe and Paul. I succumbed, because of financial stresses, to fretting with food and other nervous habits. I have been neglecting my body because I was upset. Here Hashem put me, a soul, into a body, but where was the balance? Spirituality, it a journey but the path is more or less established. Put what good is that if the donkey* has broken from the weight, the pressure of earning a living?

    My Rabbi** has taught that nervous eating (and the like) is a form of idol worship. When a person has perfect faith and trust in Hashem, there is no room for uncertainty.

    My family and I have been promised that our “donkey” will be lifted up. Maybe this can start by getting on the treadmil for 15-20 minutes tonight? Also, kabbalistically, eating fatty foods is a sign that we need to increase our expression of connecting with Hashem.

    Paul, if you like, Reb Moshe can put you in contact with me. We would love to have you over for Shabbos (location: Crown Heights).

    *A donkey (chamor is Hebrew), has the same Hebrew words as “materiality” (chomer). Thus is broken chamor is symbolic of someone broken due to material or financial concerns.

    **Reb Moshe knows who this is.

    Comment by Yonason Shlomo — July 29, 2008 @ 9:22 pm

  3. One thing I didn’t mention is that I don’t know what would have been should I not have made this healthier change. So I am glad that I have.

    Comment by Reb Moshe — July 29, 2008 @ 11:25 pm

  4. Dear Yonason—I never turn down an invitation for good food and good conversation. Yes, Reb Moshe, I would like to be put in touch with the generous gentleman!

    Comment by Paul Chipkin — August 1, 2008 @ 6:53 am

  5. Dear Yonason and Reb Moshe—A beloved and devout Pentacostal Christian compatriot of mine, has conspired with G-d, to affirm, in my life, the truth that perfect faith does not permit doubt. One is ONLY to approach Him in that spirit and then, teaches Mattie, UPON PETITIONING, the matter is CLOSED! G-d looks for purity—certainty of our trust in Him! Once we ask, we are not to worry over the matter for one second longer! We must know that “the deed is done!” G-d loves us that much! He longs for our total trust and looks for a world without fear or equivocation! G-d is the Source of our strength, so we must trust in Him, as if life depended upon Him! Of course it DOES!

    People of all persuasion must “place our stock in Him!” To do that, ever more totally, is our personal hope, just as it is the only chance for survival of Creation!

    I am 63, quite accomplished in my field (in the mental health peer recovery movement), in New York City and I went, last week, for a job interview (after a long recuperation from my ankle fusion surgery). Another close friend, resembling, closely, in personal belief and genealogy, the folks likely reading this blog, warns me of the great trouble I could have finding a position because of my advanced age. I find his comments insulting to me and to G-d! Where is his faith in either of us?—this, from a “religious man!”

    A yamulka and payes are not as reassuring to the Beloved, as is PERFECT FAITH! Spiritual life is a matter of the soul! G-d responds more to our passion at devoting our blood, sweat and tears to His purposes than He does to our inclination to conform to the sensitivities of our brethren!

    Paul Chipkin

    Comment by Paul Chipkin — August 3, 2008 @ 10:37 pm

  6. “I Am A Burning Bushman!”

    I am a burning bushman.
    They’re exploding like fireworks
    All day long at times now.
    Every day has some.

    So many of my mentally ill brothers and sisters
    Are such bushmen
    That we are grilled on it at psych-emergency.

    “Do you now or have you ever?…”
    They just prove themselves to be the arrogant idiots
    Nobody should want to be!
    When we say “Yes!,” to these folks it just proves to them our insanity!

    They are doing the right test for the wrong thing!
    “Oh, you are a burning bushman,” they should conclude.
    “Step into the temple and refresh yourself.”
    “How can I help you?”
    “What do you need?”

    …So that later on, they may ask, with dignity
    “What should I hear from one
    Who has known the burning bush
    As you have?”

    (As time passes, the answers get better and better…)

    Comment by Paul Chipkin — August 8, 2008 @ 7:16 am

  7. Friday, August 08, 2008
    The Original Post from my cgpublisher weblog (paulchipkin.com) Current mood: awake
    Category: Life

    Only Walk With Honor—(Tisha Bav, 2005)

    Some talk of a warrior messiah.
    Others associate their’s with eternal hellfire.
    Others, holy war.

    Me—I’ll only walk into Jeruselam in one way—with honor.
    Without blood spilt— or humans oppressed.
    And much more—
    With the ice caps in proper order
    Air that’s good to breathe—
    No weapon—
    No prison—
    No AIDS…

    When the saints or the priests
    Go walking into Jerusalem
    The way will be cleared.

    Tears of joy and open arms will greet us
    Or we will not come at all.
    We will march in because we have been
    Good to our word—
    Honorable and righteous.

    Not with the barrel of a gun—
    Only with an olive branch.

    All the praise and glory…

    We are brothers and sisters…
    Holy brothers and sisters.
    Posted on 2005/10/14

    Comment by Paul Chipkin — August 8, 2008 @ 7:58 am

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