Do You Exercise

Do you exercise?

Most of my exercise is walking. I usually walk around our long block a couple times a day.

One round is our daily walk with the family after school, and I usually take a second or third round while I’m on the phone with people.

A few weeks ago, I had hours and hours of phone calls.

So I walked around the block.

And beyond.

I walked about twelve miles.

That evening, I was sore.

I learned that whenever you push yourself, you’ve gotta warm up.

If you wanna grow, you have to warm up.

And it’s not just exercise. Meetings, family life and every new growth experience requires a warm-up.

Davening (prayer) is a meeting.

With G-d.

And for prayer to be a growth experience, it requires a warm-up.

Some people say, I’ll just jump into prayer and say the words.

Of course, exercising without a warm-up is better than lying on the couch.

Like prayer without a warm-up is better than not praying.

But the warm-up allows your prayer to be a growing experience.

Without soreness.

The way I was taught to warm-up for prayer, is by learning Chassidus.

Chassidus teaches the “what” of Judaism.

The Code of Jewish Law (Shulchan Oruch) is the how.

It tells you how to keep kosher, shabbos, pray, eat, sleep and keep all the mitzvos.

Talmud is the why of Judaism.

It tells us the reasoning and logic behind many of the mitzvos and their details.

Chassidus teaches the what of Judaism.

What is mitzvah? What do they do? What is a soul? What is the world? What/who is G-d?

When I spend 15 minutes or an hour studying, thinking and focusing on these questions and their answers, my prayer comes to life.

They’re not just empty words of praise, which I know by heart and could recite in my sleep.

When I say, “G-d”, I’m actually talking to Someone.

And when I finish my prayers, my day is energized and meaningful.

Some people call this a form of meditation.


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