web analytics
November 26, 2014 / 4 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘body’

Davening–Praying Can Be Good for your Health

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

Davening – praying – may not top physicians’ prescribed regimens for boosting health, but it benefits both mind and body beyond the spiritual elevation that comes with it.

Davening provides mental stimulation that helps keep the brain healthy, as an active mind has less chance of memory loss over time. With prayer services of substantial length, davening requires focus, concentration, discipline, and proper articulation, not only to get through the prayers and passages but to finish them on time, since in a minyan you’re praying together with others.

It could be argued that with the repetition of the same prayers week after week, year after year, the congregant is more or less able to daven by rote. That may be true, but there are a lot of words to recall, so even when the prayers are recited by rote, the mind is still stimulated. Indeed, whether one davens from memory or finds new challenges with each recitation, davening, for those of us who do so regularly, is like a daily mental workout.

If Hebrew is not your native language or one in which you are fluent, carrying out this endeavor has additional mental benefits; the recitation is even more challenging and therefore provides a better workout for the brain.

Davening is not a sedentary act; there are specific motions that accompany particular passages. During the course of the service the davener stands, sits, stands, bows, straightens up, turns, takes steps backward and forward, sits, stands, sits, stands, bows, and so forth. It’s not running, it’s not bench pressing, it’s not a high-energy workout, but it’s movement – and that can only be counted as positive.

For some people, particularly the elderly, davening may be one of the few forms of exercise they get. Done multiple times daily or weekly, it contributes to the minimum daily exercise recommended by various health authorities to increase longevity.

There are ancillary benefits that may be associated with davening. How does the davener get to synagogue? Walking is, of course, always healthy, particularly at a brisk pace. Davening at shul is a communal activity, and the camaraderie can lead to higher self-esteem and well-being and thus to better mental health. Singing prayers as part of a group can have similar benefits.

Some who daven are able to read or recite the Hebrew in the siddur but don’t know what the words mean. It behooves the davener to be able to translate the words properly in order to get the full benefit of davening. This provides further mental stimulation.

Because the text has so many layers of meaning, even the seasoned davener who understands what is being recited may discover new interpretations or challenges, which also helps keep the mind active.

Of course, correlations have been made between faith and well-being, and some elderly people have attributed their long lifespan to their faith. So these are benefits on top of the act of davening itself.

Davening can be a conduit to a sharp mind and a limber body. For religious fulfillment and mental and physical stimulation, it is a win-win practice. It’s never too late to start davening your way to good health.

Rationality, Not Rational

Friday, August 9th, 2013

“V’zeh yihiye mishpat haKohanim me’et ham me’et zivchei hazevach im shor im seh vnatan l’Kohen hazroah zerah v’halechaim v’hakevah.

The most frustrating conversations are with those with whom we have deep fundamental disagreements. If conducted in the right spirit, without personal animus and with sincere dedication to the pursuit of truth, they can be very rewarding. When we surround ourselves only with those who see things exactly as we do, we limit our growth. When we surround ourselves only with those with whom we have fundamental disagreements, we never get past the same discussions. We need a balance between the two.

I have a dear friend, a moral philosopher who is a Torah observant Jew. Our fundamental disagreement, one which we can never get past, concerns the relationship between God’s Law and God’s morality. Because the answers to such momentous questions lie at the heart of one’s hashkafa, we need to explore them periodically, testing the current state of our thinking for validity and coherence.  Parshat Shoftim gives us such an opportunity.

After stipulating that the Kohanim receive Divine gifts in place of a tribal portion of the land, the Torah enumerates the Matnat Kehuna. When the meat is slaughtered for consumption, they receive the right shoulder, the two bones of the lower cheek, and the stomach or gullet. The Ramban contrasts the midrashic reading on the significance of these body parts to that of the Rambam in Moreh Nevuchim. The former identifies each of the body parts with a feature of the zealous act of Pinchas. The right shoulder representing the shoulder with which Pinchas took the spear in his hand, the cheek bones representing the prayers he verbalized, and the stomach representing the organs of his victims, penetrated by his spear. In other words, the Matnat Kehuna are not a sinecure for the Kohanim but a reward for the acts of their ancestor. In Moreh Nevuchuim, however, the Rambam offers a more direct explanation: each of these organs is the most select of the animal’s body parts, the shoulder being the most select of the extremities, the stomach of its innards, etc. The Matnat Kehuna represent then the recognition that the best goes to God, in this case through the Kohanim who have been designated to serve Him.

This is not the only such explanation that the Rambam proposes. In Chelek Gimmel we find a broad selection of other mitzvot for which he offers rational bases. There is no question that the Rambam maintained that the mitzvot each convey a benefit upon Am Yisrael. At the same time, Jewish law retains its positivist basis for observance since these benefits are not the rationale for observance. The Rambam makes an important move that allows him to accommodate within his approach both the inherent rationality of the Law with its positivist basis for observance: the general outline of a particular precept is rational while its details need not be. In Chapter 26 (Pines translation):

“The generalities of the commandments necessarily have a cause and have been given because of a certain utility; their details are that in regard to which it was said of the commandments that they were given merely for the sake of commanding something.”

The Rambam cites shechitah as his prime example. As he elaborates in Chapter 48, the general mitzvah of shechitah is intended to allow the people to have the good food they require while protecting the animals they slaughter from a painful death. The general mitzvah then exhibits a rational purpose intended to benefit the people. The details, however, e.g., the particular simanim which must be cut, are “imposed with a view to purifying the people.” The Rambam is referring to a passage in Berashis Rabbah cited earlier that asks what difference should it make to Hakadosh Baruch Hu if animals are slaughtered by cutting their neck in front or in back? The Midrash answers: Say therefore that the commandments were only given in order to purify the people.”

The diyuk in the Midrash is clear: “What difference do the details make to Hakadosh Baruch Hu? Say therefore that the [details of the] commandments were only given in order to purify the people.” The Rambam can therefore conceive of a functionalist law with a positivist rationale for observance. The generalities of the Law are rational; the details of the Law are positivist in nature. The fact that the Torah exhibits an interior rationality does not preclude an absolute mandate for observance. By asserting that the details serve the purpose of requiring commitment to law independent of rational understanding, the Rambam puts the halachic system firmly on a positivist footing.

When the Rambam declares the Torah a reflection of the rational Mind of God, he does not mean to assert that it has lost its essential character as commandment. Those who interpret Jewish law as a set of social policy prescriptions miss the distinction between rationality and rationale. This confusion plagued the Wissenschaft des Judentums movement, leading those who saw Jewish legal sources as rational responses within a historical context to deny their binding nature. Similarly, those who cast Torah entirely as positivist decree may be victims of the same delusion, denying rationality in order to preserve rationale.

The Beautiful Pear

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

Thank you for reading one more Style with Esther!

Today we will talk about some tips and guidelines that could help a lot the pear shaped women. But keep in mind that these guidelines are not the ultimate truth, nor should they limit your fashion creativity. The body type guidelines serve as an invisible friend, they can help you in those moments you feel fashionably lost or overwhelmed.

I must confess that if you need to buy a new garment or are rushing to dress up for a party, using these guidelines can be very handy. Yet, as I said above, they’re not written in stone. So, it’s OK if you want to be adventurous and try something that is actually listed for another body type. After all, most women are a combination of two body types, so why not have fun with it and try something new? If what you’re wearing makes you feel empowered and happy, you’re probably making the right choice—but a small dose of good sense also helps.

THE BEAUTIFUL PEAR

If your hip measurement is larger than your bustline, you’re probably a pear shaped woman.

Since the attention on your figure is concentrated in your hipline, it will be a step toward harmony to distribute that attention to your upper bodice. The basic idea is to dress up your upper bodice and go simple with the lower. Easy, right?

How to bring the attention up?

By the use of pockets on your shirt, details on lapels, collars (have you seen some wonderful fake collars lately that work as a necklace?), shoulder pads, embroideries, studs, yokes, draped tops, exquisite brooches, ruffles— the list of embellishments goes on and on. If you’re in a rush and have no time for all these details, just choose a top with a stronger color or one with beautiful prints. They’re the fastest ways to bring the attention upwards.

If you like jewelry, that’s another good reason to wear big pendants or necklaces made of beautiful stones.

Also, knit tops will help you define your waistline, especially if they have a V-shaped neckline, because it will elongate your neck and bring the attention up to your face and to your tiny waist. U-shaped necklines work just as well.

What about sleeves? Give preference to sleeves with details. It could just be a knit top with small pleats on the sleeves, created with the help of an elastic, ¾ length bell sleeves or sleeves with cuffs that will bring the attention upwards and balance your look.

When wearing jackets, give preference to tailored ones, since they will define your waistline. The jacket length should reach at least 1 inch below your hipbone. If a jacket ends exactly at your hipbone, it will make your hipline look larger than it really is. Wearing cropped jackets is also OK, since they end exactly at your waistline. Just keep in mind that cropped jackets are not the rule for all pear shaped women. They could look great for some but give too much of a boxy look to others. You just have to ask yourself how you feel about that cropped jacket when facing the mirror. Listen to your heart.

When wearing dresses, give preference to wraps or fake wraps that have an A-line, semi-flared, or flared skirt. Besides the comfort, they will enhance your waistline.

A-ha! We have finally arrived to the skirt identity crisis! Many beautiful Pears have asked me about the logic of wearing A-line and flared skirts.

The answer lies not only on the skirt shape but also in the fabric being used. A flared skirt made of a lightweight, soft fabric that falls naturally, such as knits, silks and many other types of light weight fabrics, will create a really beautiful look!

On the other hand, an A-line made of a tough denim or any other heavyweight fabric will need some time for reflection upon its usage. It will look good for some and not so great for others. Keeping that in mind, go for A-lines, flared and semi-flared skirts made of lightweight fabric with confidence, as they will dress you well and look great. Another great reason for you to wear these styles is that they will fit your waistline perfectly without interfering with your hip measurement.

U.N. General Assembly Passes Israeli-Proposed Resolution

Monday, December 10th, 2012

The United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution proposed by Israel that establishes entrepreneurship as a critical development tool for countries around the world.

Some 129 countries voted on Friday in favor of the “Entrepreneurship for Development” resolution, 31 countries voted against, and nine countries abstained in a vote that is considered an important diplomatic victory for Israel in an international body that frequently criticizes the state.

The resolution calls on governments to foster entrepreneurship and include all interested parties, according to Globes. The resolution also says that forming partnerships between the private and public sectors also creates jobs and promotes investment, and advances economic growth in a country.

The General Assembly’s Arab bloc voted against the resolution.

Ron Prosor, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, in remarks after the vote noted that the Arab Group said it would vote against the resolution even before negotiations ended.

“What a shame,” Prosor said. “Few places could benefit from entrepreneurship more than the Arab world. Every Arab delegate who voted no is sending the message that he cares far more about petty politics than human prosperity.

“Israel’s story shows that if you want stability, empower your people. If you want prosperity, invest in your citizens. If you want sustainability, engage every member of society — especially women and youth. This, above all, is the core of this resolution.”

Arafat Exhumed

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

Arafat’s body was exhumed on Tuesday, samples were taken from the body, and the body was then reburied in his Ramallah mausoleum.

Palestinian’s believe that Arafat was poisoned with radiation, by Israel. Results are expected back in around 3 months.

.

 

US Pediatrician Group Says: Give Morning-After-Pill Prescriptions to Underage Patients

Monday, November 26th, 2012

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) on Monday urged American pediatricians to provide prescriptions for post-intercourse contraception to underage patients, as well as making them aware of the ability to take medications to prevent pregnancy even after engaging in sex.

The AAP policy statement would enable girls to get “morning after” pills immediately with their prescriptions.  US policy does not allow girls under the age of 17 to buy the pills over-the-counter – the pills are available to women of age with proof of age.

The pills work by preventing ovulation, not by preventing the implantation of a fertilized egg or otherwise causing the body to abort a growing embryo.

According to a Reuters report, a 2010 report on seven studies of emergency contraception concluded that teens were not more likely to engage in sexual activity or decrease their use of standard contraceptive devices if emergency contraception medications were made available to them.

It’s Time We All Learned to Speak (and Act) Arabic

Saturday, November 24th, 2012

Of course, we didn’t just lose a war with Hamas forever and ever, there will be a next time. Hamas did not gain any territory this time around, or destroy all our military assets etc. The political/military thinking on our side of the engagement is completely skewed, though, or as one Knesset Member, Michael Ben-Ari, put it, succinctly. “We keep on talking to Hamas in Hebrew, and they don’t get it. It’s time we spoke to them in Arabic.”

What he meant was, When we withdraw our army from Gaza, let us leave behind ten thousand Hamas widows and their loved ones wailing, ululating and gnashing their teeth in the smoking ruins of former homes and settlements. Let us leave behind stinking huge piles of skulls and mounds of offal. Let us flatten their dreams and drown their hopes in rivers of blood – or words to that effect. Let us, in effect, first do unto them what they will undoubtedly do to us if we don’t.

I, for one, am excited to learn Arabic, especially the local dialect; it has such catchy slang phrases as “Family Unification Program,” “Peace of the Brave” and “Explosive Undergarment Engineering.” And I’m all too eager for local Arabs to discover what happens when we do learn their lingo.

Can you only imagine what would happen to the Arabian Peninsula were we, Jews, to learn their language with any fluency? Can you picture one of us strapping something incandescent to his body and presenting it as a gift at the Ka’aba in Mecca in the middle of the pilgrimage? Can you wrap your head around it? Or something with a bit of a bang on the southern quadrant of the upper third of the lower cataract at Aswan? It would certainly flush out the gutters in downtown Cairo, pretty darn swiftly, I can tell you that much.

You know something, I could get to like Arabic, it has a certain flair, a certain je ne sais quoi.

I jest, of course; but I ought not to. I should do as MK Ben-Ari says, I should take him seriously and start learning Arabic. We all should, because our thinking is stuck in Hebrew and it’s getting us the rough end of the stick. That’s the whole point, we don’t just talk to Hamas in Hebrew, we force-feed them like stuffed geese with our Hebrew ideas and thinking as well, great big butterballs of concessions and privileges.

We need to learn Arabic from the ground up; Arabic as it is spoken to the Syrians by their Presidents Hafez and Bashar al-Assad. Or cultured, Farsi flavored Arabic of the kind Hassan Nasrallah talks to the Lebanese. And then we can do our post-graduate work in Arabic as it is spoken in Hamastan, Gaza.

I can smell it already, the heady whiff of brimstone-tinged cordite, laced with sewage, Khan Yunis, Arabic Springtime, 2013.

Arabic is more than a language you know, it’s a whole body experience, well, a whole body is what you start with, I mean.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/its-time-we-all-learned-to-speak-and-act-arabic/2012/11/24/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: