Don't be lazy
get fit and get closer to God.
by Avi Buckman
hhhhhhhhh!" One of the most common expressions found in my vo-
cabulary at this time of the year. School is finally over, and the need for
an extended break is so essential that just the thought of summer is an
experience of its own. We all have this feeling; freedom from academic respon-
sibility is too appealing to clear out of the average high-schooler's head.
Unfortunately, looking back on the summers spent at home, I picture myself
lying down on the couch watching TV as the windows teem with sunlight. Al-
though this confession is usually comforted by, "It's OK, you deserve a break,"
the reality is shocking. Too many teens spend time sitting around the house as
the beautiful summer weather knocks on our doors.
Not only is this lazy habit unhealthy, but also Jewish law makes it quite clear
that being lazy is an inclination frowned upon by the Torah. Deuteronomy 4:15
commands, V'nishmartem m'od l'nafshoteichem, which often is translated as, "For
your own sake, therefore be most careful." The word "nafshoteichem" may eas-
ily be translated two different ways: "your soul" or "your body."
Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, one of the frontrunners of the Torah U'mada
ideology, a combination of
traditional Judaism and mod-
ern science, expounds on
this precise nuance. In his
book Horeb, Hirsch explains
that one needs to maintain a
healthy body for the soul to
effectively serve God.
From a Jewish perspective,
fitness for the sake of devel-
oping a beach body is not the
ultimate goal; rather, fitness
should be a means to improve
our soul's connection to God.
We should be active in
Aidan Altman, 15, a rising junior at FJA, works out on a
keeping our lives healthy and
machine In the West Bloomfield ICC fitness center.
long so that we are capable of
doing God's will. For instance,
it is very hard to help someone in a wheelchair up the stairs when merely climb-
ing the stairs is wearing.
Maimonides, one of the greatest Jewish philosophers, thinkers and halachis-
ts, gives the average Jewish person a simple approach to fulfilling the Torah's
commandment for preserving his or her health. As an experienced physician,
Maimonides delineates healthy practices in his code of Jewish law, the Mishnah
Torah. The bottom line to his series of healthy practices can be summed up in
one word: routine. Every Jewish person should come up with and maintain a
certain routine for staying fit.
Finding a routine is quite simple; the most obvious part of the routine is hav-
ing a balanced diet. We need to be more conscious of what we eat — pick water
over pop, skim milk over whole milk, whole wheat over white, chicken breast
over red meat. By merely replacing unhealthy foods with better alternatives,
Nathan Goldstein, 16,
a rising junior at the
Academy, hits the
bag at the Jewish
Community Center in
maintaining health becomes much simpler.
Lastly, the summer brings a lot of opportunity to complete the healthy rou-
tine. Taking an hour or two walking or jogging outside is a great way to keep the
heart pumping and keeping fresh air in the system. For people like me who find
walking or jogging slightly monotonous, playing basketball, soccer, Frisbee or
just catch with friends is healthy activity. For more amphibious people, swim-
ming is an excellent way to exercise most parts of the body, including the most
important, the heart.
There are so many ways to maintain a good, healthy lifestyle. Now it is up to you
to find your healthy routine and stick with it during the summer.
God gave our bodies to us as a present; let's thank Him by stay-
ing healthy and connecting to Him through His Torah.
Avi Buckman, 15, attended the Frankel Jewish Academy In West Bloom-
field and will be a Junior at Yeshiva Atlanta in the fall.
teen2teen June 25 • 2009 B1