Diplomate, Board Certification of Emergency Medicine
Chairman, Department of Emergency Medicine Ma'ayenei Hayeshua
The Invincible Israeli Male
This week's column is dedicated to people just like me --
closing in on mid life, and set in our ways. And while I feel
this column is important, I don't expect many of my fellow
males to pay much attention. After all, as the saying goes --
you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him
In Israel, we have a way of ignoring things. We lift up one
hand in a semi wave, and this signifies that we aren't too
interested in what we are hearing -- the message is one we
heard before, but we know better. In the U.S.A. we are more
likely to brush things aside with a pithy remark about
nagging, but here in Israel it's that uplifted hand.
As you have seen in these pages, the gedolim have
recently come out strongly against smoking. In America we
were bombarded with advertisements that condemn the practice,
yet in Israel it is almost the minhag hamokom. Ask any
of the many smokers, and they may even try to tell you how
good smoking is for you. Never mind that millions die yearly
from smoking-related diseases; they'll tell you that it is
all a fabrication by doctors who are "against smoking." Push
any further and it's the uplifted hand.
My rebbeim all believe in exercise, albeit in private.
Fifteen minutes a day can make a world of a difference. Your
heart, metabolism and brain, all benefit. As a result you
feel better, and can learn with more strength. I think most
of our men agree that it is important, but few put it into
any practice other than lifting up their hand, which is not
that much exercise.
Driving a car very fast and passing on the right is very
"manly." Not using seatbelts for children and adults is also
part of this. Seatbelts save lives. And I don't have to tell
you about Israeli drivers -- they are legendary for poor
driving. Yet request a taxi driver to slow down, or tell
someone with ten kids horsing around in the back of a car
that perhaps a seatbelt is a good idea and you are unlikely
to be greeted with the most courteous response. Most likely
will be the uplifted hand.
Ever try to get a male to go to the doctor? Easier, I say, to
split the Red Sea. What about eating right? Numerous cups of
coffee and a diet low in fruits and vegetables is not the
best one for a person.
Listen, I have nothing against the frum male. After
all, I consider myself a member of the club. But we men must
start taking some responsibility for our lives and realize
that there are those who depend on us. While we don't have to
be fitness nuts and eat wild roots and berries like the
goyim, we can't go to the opposite extreme either.
Like my chavrusa once said to me: "Your body isn't a
toy. This isn't a game." I put the challenge to you:
recognize that invincibility is just a myth. Saving your own
life begins yesterday.
By the way, for those who are wondering if I practice what I
preach, I'll lave you will the following answer: "Write me,
in care of the Yated."
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