Otir

The Mind/Body Connection

The MIND/BODY CONNECTION in the writings of the Rambam (1138-1204): “It is known…that internal psychological movements (ha’hafalos nafshiyos) bring about dramatic physical changes in the body, clearly visible to all. We find verification to this in the following: Take an individual with a generally strong/healthy constitution (adam chazak ha’binyan), whose voice is strong and pleasant, and whose face is illuminated with light. If something, some greatly distressing event occurs suddenly, his face will fall and lose all its luster, the light of his face will change, his posture will droop, and his voice will become raspy and thin/weak. If he wishes to raise his voice and speak with all his strength, he simply is unable to do so. He feels feeble, and he may even begin to shake uncontrollably due to this weakness. The pulse of his veins [blood circulation] will be feeble, his eyes will dilate, his eyelids will become too heavy to lift, the outer surface of his body will become cold, and he will lose any desire to eat. The physical cause behind all these symptoms: his natural body heat and blood has sunken and contracted into his body.

Conversely, take an individual who is weak, whose visage is off-color, and whose voice is weak. If something joyous happens, he will become stronger, his face will shine, his voice will become powerful, his movements quick/agile, and the pulse of his veins strong. The outer surface of his body will become warm and joy and happiness will become readily apparent on his face and in his eyes. All this will become readily apparent without any need to look deeper. The physical cause of all these: is the activation of his natural body heat, and the blood rising up to the surface.

The same is true of those who are anxiety-ridden (baaley pachad) on the one hand, vs. those who live with hope and anticipation [that things will always be better]. The same is true of those who are mistaken/confused in their thoughts on the one hand, vs. those who are successful in life. For there are times when a person can, as a result of his grief and bad luck, lose his eyesight. The face of a successful person, on the other hand, radiates, and the light of his eyes shines, to such an extent that the light of the day seems to grow brighter in his presence. This is all clear and does not require long explanations.

It is for this reason that doctors/healers warn us to pay attention to subtle internal psychological changes (tenuos nafshiyos), to constantly keep an eye out for them, and to make every effort to equalize them (le’hashvosam) while a person is still healthy, and in the event of any sickness as well. Indeed, no other treatment or physical procedure takes precedence over them. The doctor/healer should understand that the heart of someone who is ill is contracted/constricted, whereas the soul of a healthy person is expansive. He should therefore make it his business to remove psychological causes (hispaaliyos nafshiyos) that bring one to emotional stress (kotzer ruach), for this prolongs health, and in addition, it is first and foremost in the treatment of sickness.”— Rambam, Hanhagas HaBerius (Health Treatment), Shaar Gimel (end), pp. 32-33 (Hebrew translation by Moshe ibn Tibbon of Rambam’s letter to Al-Afdai, son of Saladin)— English translation by the wonderful Avraham Sutton.

Initial Post by Rav Doniel Katz

My Letter to G-d in 5781

Dear God,

Thank You for all You gave me this year, for Your faithfulness in me and for pointing me always into the right direction.

Thank You for my beautiful children’s health, life and happiness and for sustaining us until this season. I am grateful.

Please dear God, Bless me with a change of my heart, and allowing me to remove the layers that block her from connecting and receiving Your flow of energy to grow.

Help me to let go of my “lizards” so that I would be cleansed and able to return to Your palace to be able to dwell in Your presence all the days of my life.

May the words of my meditation be agreeable to You

Getting ready to prepare a new conversation before 5782

Each year, before the holy day of Rosh HaShanah (The Head of the Year or the new Jewish year), I examine my past year thoroughly, on all aspects, and resolve some of the issues that arise when I reckon what has unfolded for me.

I end the accounting of the soul with a letter or a conversation with the Ruler of the Universe, while I can still get a hold of attention before things get serious. The day of judgment is coming, the day when we officially go under scrutiny for all that we, human beings, are responsible for.

Like for instance, how did we take care of our businesses, our planet, our neighbors, our children, our elders, etc..?

Chief Oren Lyons speaks about Climate Change in 2007

This was fourteen years ago…

Today, we repeat we have to be ready. We continued waging wars. Abuse nature. We are not ready to face the consequences without shivering. It is time to change. From the inside out.

Oren R. Lyons is Faithkeeper of the Turtle Clan of the Onondaga Nation, one of the Six Nations of the Haudenosaunee (people of the Long House) whose territory once encompassed most of New York, Pennsylvania, and part of Ohio in the United States and Ontario and Quebec in Canada. Also known as the Iroquois Confederacy, the Six Nations includes the Onondaga, Mohawk, Seneca, Cayuga, Oneida, and Tuscorara nations. The Haudenosaunee form of government is based on a more than 1,000-year-old oral constitution called the Great Law of Peace, whose democratic ideals, some historians say, served as inspiration for the framers of the US Constitution.

A blessing for a Good Year

May we bring ourselves into goodness, into connection for the good

A Rosh HaShanah message

Chanukah – the Festival of Lights

Chanukah celebrates the persistence of a handful of guerrilla fighters, whose victory led to the downfall of the mighty Greek army and the triumph of good over evil.

Click to access all the photos

A Hannukka Celebration from the Milken Archive’s collection 

Kathy Storfer, z”l is telling the story of Judah Who Always Said No a Chanukah story written by Harriet K. Feder with illustrations by Katherine Janus Kahn to a group of captivated young children from Early Childhood Center of Jewish Family Congregation in South Salem, NY, in December 2011.
“No,” said Judah Maccabee, when the Syrian king wanted him to change his name. “No,” he said again, when ordered to pray to strange gods. Judah’s defiance helped the Maccabees to victory. Only after the miracle of Hanukkah, did Judah finally say, “yes.”

Shabbat

A table set for Shabbat with wine, challah tray, shabbat candles, flowers, fruit

Shabbat:

a Hebrew word meaning "to interrupt work".

It is the Hebrew name for Saturday, the seventh and last day of the week.

Devout Jews abstain from work and pray to celebrate the Creation of the world completed by God on that day.

Here's a good idea, don't you think?

Interrupt work, to refrain from work.

Now, the idea of ​​"celebrating the creation of the world completed by god that day" could appear to many as a pretty tale that might be more difficult to digest.

And yet.

During these days of COVID-19, the world literally stopped in its frantic race to produce.

A tiny microbe declared a universal "Shabbat" by forcing the greatest number to stop their work as usual.

It forced them to replace it with new forms.
I am aware that consequences vary for everyone.

But this is not my purpose.

I mean that we are creating a new world right now.

Because we still have the choice to take part in Creation, through each of our decisions, one day at a time, one minute at a time.

In Judaism, the Shabbat holds a central place.
It contains the idea of ​​absolute freedom, and complete harmony between Man and Nature, between Man and Man.

It expresses the metaphysical idea of Man's victory over Time, sadness, and death.

When I wish you a Shabbat Shalom (a "Shabbat of peace" or "Peace of the Shabbat"), I am wishing you a complete harmony between you and the world you are in at that moment.

I am wishing for you to experience the peace, serenity or tranquility of your heart as a full experience.

You don't have to be a believer in God or anything to live this moment.

This is what I wish you all, if only for a moment, a moment of eternity. Shabbat shalom !!

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