Posted on | December 9, 2013 | By Mark Frankel | 6 Comments
A few months ago in a post called From Healing The Hip To Strengthening The Soul, I discussed a secular friend’s desire to develop his spiritual side. I mentioned that I can’t identify a tried and true path for Jewish people who want to grow spiritually, but are not necessarily on a path to full Torah observance in an observant community. This is the second 3-minute-read post of the series I mentioned there.
Let me explain the hip connection. I’ve been a 3-4 times a week, 40 minute runner, for most of my adult life. About 5 years ago, I was getting pains in my hip joint area. I went to my medical doctor and his recommendation was to take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication. This is a standard medical response for chronic joint pain. And it worked. I was able to function and even run on the medication.
About 18 months ago, I took two of my kids to an amusement park with roller coasters. The next day, before Shacharis, I had an intensely sharp shooting pain in my hip joint which caused me to buckle over my car. I hobbled to Shul and the intense pain would come back periodically. I mentioned this to David (Linn) and he said there was a PT in Great Neck who had done wonders for a number of people in our neighborhood. I went to see him.
Dr. Weisberg said my hip was so lacking in mobility that I was headed straight for a hip replacement. He took me off anti-inflammatories and taught me the proper way to use icing. He gave me 10 minutes of stretches to do twice a day. I’ve done the stretches religiously, and I haven’t taken an anti-inflammatory in 18 months; I no longer need icing; and my hip is gradually getting stronger and stronger.
What I’ve learned is the power of proper repetition over time. And proper repetition will strengthen our spiritual side as well. Saying Berachos, Shema, Shomoneh Esrai and doing mitzvos repetitively are meant to help us develop a deep spiritual connection to G-d. However it’s clear that the vast majority of observant Jews don’t have such a deep connection. Certainly Torah Observance leads to some connection, but it’s not a deep spiritual connection because we’re not doing the mitzvos properly with mindfulness, focus and kavanna.
If I’m going to help my friend really develop his spiritual side, I need to work on using the mitzvos properly to develop a deep spiritual connection to G-d. (End of part 2)