Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

29 Sivan 5765 - July 6, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Home and Family

Exercise for the Spirit
by Risa Rotman

Exercise Teacher: Good morning to you all. O.K. ladies, let's get going. We're here to work. Step Touch four, three, two...We've got to get those hearts pumping. Yes, Saraleh, you wanted to tell us something?

Saraleh: Well...yesterday, again that nudnick came knocking on my door. You know, the one who comes collecting money and has to tell me her whole long sob story."

Ladies: Yes...

Saraleh: Normally I just give a couple of shekels, wish her good luck, and close the door while she is in mid- sentence . . .

Ladies: Yes...

Saraleh: Well, this time I actually listened to what she had to say. I really couldn't help her with all her problems, but I saw how much better it made her feel just to have someone actually listen.

Exercise Teacher: Good going. I see that you've really expanded those heart muscles. Kol Hakavod. O.K. ladies, we had a nice warm-up.. Now it's time to increase our flexibilty. Stretch your arms and legs like this. One, two, three, stretch... Yes, Rivki.

Rivki: Here's something about flexibility. I know that at times I'm too rigid with the kids. It seems like I'm always saying no. Well, on Shabbos, the kids asked if we could save dessert and eat it in the afternoon as a treat instead. I was about to say, "No. A meal is a meal and shouldn't be divided up," and then I thought, "Why not?" So instead, we had a nice little dessert party in the middle of Shabbos afternoon. Everyone was so relaxed and happy. We really had a good time.

Exercise Teacher: Very good, Rivki! See what happens when we extend ourselves just a little bit. Ladies, you have got to exert yourselves. That's the name of the game. No pain, no gain. You want to build strong bodies. Yes, Leah, you want to say something?

Leah: You want to hear about strength? Listen to this. Here I was in the supermarket. I was basically in line, when along comes Mrs. X and takes her shopping cart and rams it right in front of mine. This is far from being the first time she's done this sort of thing. I was boiling. I think I could have taken out my tomatoes and started pelting her with them, I was so angry. I took a deep breath, counted to ten, took another deep breath and said in my calmest voice possible, "I'm sure you didn't realize it, but I was in line before you. Do you think you could go in back of me?" Mrs. X turned a bit red and said, "Certainly." Then she took her cart in back of me.

Exercise Teacher: Fantastic! You've really increased your strength! Way to go! O.K. ladies, keep moving. We've got build up our endurance. We don't want to be left without the stamina to keep on going. You know what they say, "When things are tough, the tough keep going." Did you want to tell us something, Rachel?

Rachel: Endurance. I know all about endurance. Any given morning in my house could qualify for a medical stress test. Getting six kids out of the house on time is definitely an exercise in endurance. There is at least one kid who can't find his shoes or a nursery bag. Notes to be signed, one of the girls is bound to have a bug or two to be picked out of her hair. Six sandwiches need to be made and except for chocolate spread, no two kids like the same thing; same goes with the choice of fruit. The baby will inevitably dump cereal and milk all over herself just after she's been changed. I have to remind the kids to brush their teeth, make their beds, and clean up their rooms. The little kids have to be ready in time for the big kids to take them.

It all gets done somehow, but I felt like I sounded like a drill seargent, barking orders every moment. I really wanted to make a more joyful way to start off the day.

Ladies: Yes....

Rachel: Well, it hasn't been easy. Old habits are hard to break, but I guess I've made some progress because this morning, on her way out the door, my four-year-old came over to me and said, "Your the bestest Mommie in the whole world."

Everyone: Hurray! Three Cheers!

Exercise Teacher: O.K. ladies, there you have it: heart, flexibility, strength, and endurance. These are key ingredients for good health. Keep up the good work. We'll be seeing each other next time and in the meantime keep on exercising. Bye.


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