Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Before a baby is born, as the fetal development progresses, he or she has all the tools necessary to receive nourishment from the outside world: eyes, ears, nose, mouth, lungs, etc. Bones and muscles have developed and are covered in skin, there is brain activity, this baby is ready to go and yet . . . until she is born, virtually none of these faculties will be used.

Suddenly, almost instantaneously, this little one will go “all out” and will be exercising all of her little body’s systems to breathe, to eat, to digest, and to grow. Reflexively, she’ll even be working on her muscle tone in unconscious preparation for sitting, walking, fine motor exercises and more.

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Life begins with our willingness to use the faculties with which we’ve been entrusted, as well as to open ourselves up to input from the outside. Like a fetus whose mouth and nose are not available for input before its birth, our own development depends on our willingness to learn from others and to integrate our experiences with our outlook as we contribute by using our own individual gifts for the greater good.

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Avi Ganz is the program Director of Ohr Torah Stone's Yeshivat Darkaynu. He lives with his wife and five children in Gush Etzion where he volunteers for MD"A, plays the blues on his Hohner, and reminisces fondly of his days playing tackle football with the IFL.