Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Secret to Jewish Spiritual Fitness

On three things the world stands. On Torah, on Prayer and on Loving-Kindness.
-Shimon Ha-Tzadik, quoted in Pirke Avot, 1:2.

Shimon Ha-Tzadik, who met Alexander the Great outside the walls of Jerusalem over 2,300 years ago, saw the world changing, and chose to re-state the Jewish spiritual fitness program for all future generations. Each of the three areas he mentions – Torah, prayer and loving-kindness, are broad categories that lead all of us to becoming more spiritually complete beings.

The study of Torah, a central facet of Jewish life for over 3,300 years, brings us closer to the source of divine wisdom. Prayer connects us to the source of all life and reminds us to examine ourselves and our actions. Acts of loving-kindness refers to those mitzvoth (commandments) involving social justice and building a better world, bringing the divine presence into all our lives.

While each of us, with our different personalities and likes and dislikes, will have a unique mix of these three things, all of them are essential ingredients for Jewish spiritual fitness. The Jewish secret to spiritual fitness? Our own unique balance of Torah, Prayer and Acts of Loving-Kindness.