Category Archives: Fitness and Diet

I Fell…

Sorry I haven’t posted to Seeking Simcha in a few months…I fell.

Things were going well for me during my journey towards simcha (Jewish happiness). I was losing weight, meditating and working towards Shalom Bayit (greater peace at home).

But then I started getting stressed and very busy at my high-tech job, triggering a pattern of dysfunctional eating (something I have struggled with in the past). I began binging at restaurants and eating until I literally felt sick.

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4 Tech Tools for Happiness in 2016

The following four tech tools have given a big boost to my search for happiness. Hopefully some of them can also help you in 2016.  Please note: I am not affiliated with these products and I’m not receiving any money or benefits to promote them. 

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Hanukkah and Exercising for the Right Reasons

I believe the Hanukkah story, which transpired thousands of years ago, has shaped classical Jewish attitudes towards fitness, diet and exercise.

The ancient Greeks, led by Alexander the Great, conquered Jerusalem. Greek society idealized the human body and its citizens spent much time developing their physical attributes and thinking about their looks, and even held sporting events where competitors preened without clothing. The human body was so venerated in ancient Greece that its Olympians practiced and competed nude!

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I Miss Abuelo…

“Simcha, what happened? You put on A LOT of weight since I saw you last!”

That’s how Abuelo (may his memory be for a blessing) greeted me last May, which was one of the last times I had the privilege of seeing him (although I didn’t know it at the time). Abuelo was a doctor and the father of D., a friend of mine in Modi’in. He used to visit Israel from his home in Argentina about twice a year to see his daughter, son-in-law and four grand kids.

Everyone warmly called him “Abuelo,” which means “grandfather” in Spanish, because he was an avuncular, sweet patriarch with a doctor’s calming bedside manner.

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A Jewish Mother’s 5 Happiness Lessons

This Mother’s Day I am reminded of all the happiness lessons I learned from my Jewish mother.

1. Be friendly and nice: as a kid, I would get annoyed when my mother would stop and chat with what seemed like every person in line at the supermarket check-out. Of course as I matured, I realized how much more pleasant the world would be if everyone gave other people the feeling that they matter.

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Can you RUN to do a Mitzva?

It’s difficult to run to do mitzvot when your back and knees hurt.

It’s much easier to study Torah in a Yeshiva or Beit Midrash than it is in a hospital.

One must be alive and breathing to do good deeds for others.

Despite the skepticism of some in the traditional Jewish community towards healthy nutrition and fitness for a variety of reasons (which I covered in my last blog post), Judaism has always stressed taking care of one’s health and body. Our holy souls should not be housed in defiled vessels.

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5 Reasons Jews Don’t Exercise

As part of my efforts to feel greater happiness (simcha) and joy, I have begun working out and watching what I eat. I already feel a little better, but is my new focus at odds with traditional Judaism?

Unfortunately, there are some in the community who have taken a negative view of proper nutrition and physical fitness for a variety of reasons:

1. Exercise is a waste of time: wasting time is a serious offense in traditional Judaism and the Rabbis taught us to preoccupy ourselves mostly with Torah study, good deeds and prayer. It is sometimes difficult to find time to exercise when one also prays three times a day (in addition to all of life’s other responsibilities).

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Blessings in the Bathroom

Blessings in the Bathroom

My ten-day hospital stay approximately two years ago was a good spiritual refresher course. Perhaps surprisingly, many of my best lessons occurred in my hospital room’s bathroom.

I was hospitalized in Israel’s excellent Tel HaShomer hospital after suffering a painful urinary blockage that caused my lower pelvis to swell. In the preceding days I went to the restroom much more often than usual, but I simply could not empty my bladder. If you’ve never had that experience, it is frustrating, uncomfortable and worrisome.

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Disordered Eating Blocks My Spirituality

I just failed another “lunchtime challenge.” A few months ago, I started working full-time at an organization that doesn’t have a cafeteria. Our building is surrounded by restaurants, so most employees head downstairs to grab a bite.

It sounds simple enough, unless you are a person who struggles with binge eating. I start obsessively thinking about what I am going to eat almost immediately upon arriving at work. I tell myself, “Today will be different,” but more often than not, I order fatty, unhealthy food in large quantities. Because I’m embarrassed about my terrible habits, I usually eat alone, in my office.

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