Photo Credit: Jodie Maoz

Scientists and researchers are constantly looking for new and insightful ideas to promote longevity.

Exercise is a known factor, and of course, eating healthy foods and living a clean and healthy life style can definitely extend our life span. However there is still one secret that only the Jewish Nation has to offer to all those in search of this secret.

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And that is our holy Torah.

We see amongst our people and great leaders who lived long life that it was the Torah that they learned till their last day which kept them alive. And not just alive physically, but mentally and spiritually. It’s even said that the older the Torah scholar is the wiser and stronger mentally he is.

We see with our leaders and ancestors how they were sharp till their last day. It’s even written about Moshe Rabbeinu, how healthy and strong he was till the moment Hashem told him that he must leave this world. This fact of Torah learning is also true regarding the holy women and mothers of Israel, for two reasons.

The first reason, is that there are many learned woman scholars just like the men. And second, it is written regarding the Torah that when the husband learns, the merit of the learning goes to the woman. So if you have a very learned man his wife gets just as much credit for his learning as if she learned it all herself. The ladies of Israel are busy with the physical world taking care of all the household needs so she doesn’t always have the time or the state of mind to just sit and learn. Therefore Hashem in His infinite wisdom gives us credit for learning even without opening a book.

In this week’s parsha we read about our holy mother Sara and her sudden death. Let’s not forget that she wasn’t exactly a young person. However, if it were not for Sara Emeinu hearing about her only son Yitzchak’s Akeida incident, she would have probably lived on for many more years.

And now to our time and day. Many people learn Torah in a yeshiva or in their home, or in their local synagogue. In many situations the learning takes place in areas which are conducive to the learning atmosphere. Whether it’s the sounds of other colleagues learning as well, or the sounds of a rabbi leading a sermon. Torah learning is always a challenge and an effort. However, we usually try to make the surroundings as conducive as possible so that the learning will be successful.

I have a friend whose husband is sitting in prison for many years now, due to a terrible car accident he was involved in, leaving several casualties from the accident. He is a religious Jew. However in prison, he isn’t sitting in a section that has only observant Jews, rather he is in a mixed section with Jews and non-Jews alike.

In the religious section, as hard as it is to believe, there is a synagogue and the prisoners sit and learn all day. The rabbi of the prison also organizes many rabbinic guest speakers, who can come and lecture and teach these people how to live better lives when they eventually leave the prison walls.

My friend’s husband works all day at one of the factories set up for the prisoners, and then after a long and hard day he sits to learn by himself. This past week my friend shared with me that her husband finished the entire Shas for the third time. This to me was simply outstanding. With no real conducive circumstances, except his love of Hashem and the Torah, this man with his strong will power, kept his mind and soul sharp by never leaving the Torah.

I believe that the fact that he learns Torah against all odds, is his saving grace throughout all the hard years he has been sitting in jail.

May we merit learning Torah from love and not just from hardship. May the Torah guide our mortal souls in this world and the next, bringing us long life and eternity, for us and all our loved ones and for all of Am Israel. Amen.

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Michal can be reached at michal@jewishpress.com