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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The Text

Bereishit 17:10-12

This is My covenant, which you shall observe between Me and between you and between your seed after you, that every male among you be circumcised. And you shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be as the sign of a covenant between Me and between you. And at the age of eight days, every male shall be circumcised to you throughout your generations.

The Commentary

If circumcision is what God wants, why aren’t we born circumcised? God created the world imperfect, and gave us the mission to perfect it. God created wheat; humans make bread. God created a jungle; humans create civilization. The raw materials are given to us, and we are to use our ingenuity to improve on the world that we were born into. This is symbolized by the bris—we are born uncircumcised, and it is up to us to “finish the job.” This is also true metaphorically. We each have instincts and natural tendencies that are inborn, but need to be refined. “I was born that way” does not excuse immoral behavior: We are to cut away any negative traits, no matter how innate they may seem.

The Rambam teaches, “As long as one exercises, exerts himself greatly, does not eat to the point of satiation and has loose bowels, he will not suffer sickness and he will grow in strength… whoever is idle and does not exercise, or does not move his bowels when he has the need, or is constipated, even if he eats the proper foods and takes care to follow the rules of medicine, will be full of pain for all his days and his strength will fade away.”

Exercise

Your body will never be perfect. (Duh!) That’s not an excuse. In very general terms the following are realistic ways of achieving your goals.

Cardio

You should strive for 30 minutes five days a week of moderate aerobic exercise or 20 minutes three or four days a week of a higher intensity aerobic exercise.

Strength

Perform moderate- to high-intensity muscle-strengthening activity on major muscle groups: legs, hips, back, chest and shoulders, at least two days per week. Aim to do a single set of each exercise, using a weight or resistance level heavy enough to tire your muscles after about 12 to 15 repetitions. Once you have mastered one set of each move, go on to two to three sets of each.

Flexibility

Stretch each major muscle group through a full range of motion. Repeat each stretch two to three times holding each stretch for 15-30 seconds. A stretch should always be smooth and slow, never jerky or bouncy. Always keep your joints slightly bent, never “locked” in a straight position. Stretch after your muscles are warmed up. Do at least five minutes of light to moderate cardio prior to stretching. Complete stretching routines are best performed after cardio or strength workouts.

Jay says: Get off the couch—your body, which belongs to Him, says so. Get to work!

By Jay Hirschhorn