Sanctify yourself through the permissible... Yevamos 20a

Divrei Torah to provide Chizuk in the struggle to balance spiritual and physical needs.

L'Iluei Nishmas Mirkah Bas Yosef

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Removing Illness from our midst.

"And You shall serve HaShem, your G-d, and He will bless your bread and your water, and I will remove illness from your midst,”  (Shemos 23, 25).

This verse clearly connects our physical sustenance and health to spiritual service. The commentator, Kli Yakar, identifies an inconsistency in the verse which teaches a beautiful lesson.  It begins in the plural, ועבדתם (And you[plural] will serve), and continues in the singular, לחמך (your[singular] bread).

He explains that all Jews are responsible for one another and therefore each individual’s bread won’t be blessed until all Jews are serving HaShem in unity. Hence the usage of “serving” in the plural tense and “your bread” in the singular.

This fundamental idea can be applied in all areas of our lives, particularly – as the verse openly states – to our eating and well-being.  We all have the responsibility to educate and encourage each other in proper health care and nutrition.  We can’t turn a blind eye toward unhealthy practices, such as poor eating habits and lack of any physical exercise.

from the Sovea newsletter

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Making a change in our lives.

There was a study of graduates of Harvard Business School.  They were asked upon graduation if they had specific goals for there future.  13% had goals, 3% had written goals.  Ten years later they found that those who had goals exceeded their goals by double.  Those who had written goals earned ten times what they had planned on making.  The only distinction between them and the rest of the class was that that set concrete goals and set out to meet them.

In our lives, if we want to change things and achieve things we should have written goals.  If we want to lose 20 pounds, it is not enough to say, "I am going to lose 20 pounds" You need to have a daily plan of what you are going to eat and how much you are going to exercise. 

 From a Shiur on Torah anytime:


These are his words, not mine. 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

What ropes are keeping us from attaining what we what to?

How is it  possible for a work elephant's owner to tie the elephant up at night when the elephant is so strong that it could destroy any shelter or rope that confines it.  The answer is:

To train elephants in India they start when they are young. They tie an Elephant to a tree with a chain. The young elephant tries and tries to get away but is not able to break the chain. They struggle and struggle to no avail. They soon learn they can not break the chain and therefore give up  the struggle. When they are older and much bigger the elephant feels something tied around his ankle and he will not struggle and believe they are stuck. An elephant trainer knows this and is then able to tie a full grown elephant to a tree with nothing but a rope. Even though its incredible strength would allow it to easily break the rope and be free. In their head they are bound, they are stuck and do not fight.

We have to look at our own lives and think to ourselves,"what do we want to accomplish that we are not doing? What nonsense is keeping me from achieving my goals?"

from the Shiur on Torah Anytime:

How many years did I want to become healthy but believe that it could not be done?  How many times did I wish that I could stop eating, but think that I couldn't.  Now that I am BH maintaining an 87 pound weight loss, I realize that it was just a thin rope holding me back.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Cry No More by Yaakov Shweky-check out this inspiring video!

Maintenance-is it possible to stay the same?


Many years ago a Rav asked my husband if his wife is learning.  My husband told the Rav that I was too busy between Kids and working.  The Rav told my husband that there is a rule in spirituality that you are either going up or going down.  I started attending his class every week, with my husband's blessing. Since then I have logged many hours of learning weekly.

I used to think that the same rule applies for weight, you are either gaining or losing.  Then came OA and measured portions-the dreaded  Maintenance.  Unfortunately at a certain point  your body gets used to the food.  It often happens that you have to cut your food to stay the same weight.  I went to my doctor and showed him my food plan. He told me to cut out the ounce of oil that I add to my salad every day.  After about a month of no oil at all, I started to get sick.  After several months, I was getting sicker and sicker.  The doctors couldn't find a cause. Finally my GP said, "why don't you try putting oil back for a few days and see what happens".  Magic- I got better within a few days. Moral of the story-our bodies need some oil and there is a reason that our sponsors tell us to add oil to our diet.

New dilemma-how am I going to keep from gaining weight, what food should I cut out.
Revelation-instead of cutting calories in I can increase calories out.  Exercise.

In the last month I have made a point of riding my exercise bike enough to cover the added calories of the oil.  Amazing-not only did I not gain but I actually lost a pound. Yeah.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A plan of action


OA recently added a new tool, the plan of action. Basically it helps us to turn our good intentions into actions in areas of our lives other then food.  I have wanted to add exercise to my daily routine for a long time, but have not gotten around to it.  Now that I have made it a serious part of my plan of action, I am feeling much better.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


The only person you need to be accepted by is yourself, and you achieve this by bringing Hashem into our lives.  If our lives are focused on doing Hashem's will, we will be pleased with ourselves.  We have nothing to fear other than Hashem, becuase nothing is as real as Hashem.

from the Shiur on Naaleh:

Parshat Yitro: The Experience of Sinai
Teacher: Mrs. Shira Smiles Class: Added: February 07, 2012

Parsha For Our Lives 5772

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Keeping vigilant.

When I started the OA program, I had to learn to be honest with myself.  One of the things that I had to be honest about was that if I bite my nails on weekdays, I might not be able to stop myself from doing it on Shabbos.  I decided to make sure to keep  my nails polished so that I wouldn't bite them on Shabbos.  Now that I am on OA for 844 days (give or take a few minutes), I wanted to see if I needed to keep them polished.  For a few days everything was fine.  All of a sudden a nail broke and I wanted to "just even it out".  Before I knew it I was fighting to keep myself from biting my nails.  Back on went the polish.  I learned an important lesson from this.  Even when we think that we have conquered a bad habit, there are no guarantees out there.  We always have to stay vigilant, because the Yetzer Hara is stronger then we are.

In OA we learn that the tools are a protection of our abstinence.  You don't sit down and decide to break your diet, first you skip a meeting, then an outreach call, and before you know it your program is sliding down hill. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Life is a dream

It is brought down in the Talmud that the interpretation of a dream determines the reality of the dream.  If it is interpreted for good, it will be good.  Rabbi Label Lam says that our lives are life a dream.  If we interpret them for good, they will be good, and if we look at our lives in a negative way, that is the way they will be.

from this Shiur on Torah Anytime:

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