Today is November 17, 2019 -

Spiritual Practice

by Eadie Tsabari, Director of Congregational Learning

It’s pitch dark outside and somehow I am wearing my workout clothes. Jab-Cross, Jab-Cross. I’m trying to figure out how I have convinced myself that getting up and going to boxing practice at 7 am is a good idea. Jab- Cross, Jab-Cross. Something most of you don’t know about me is that for the last year (thanks to Allison) I have been learning how to box. Jab-Cross, Jab-Cross. I’m at least 15 years older than anyone in the building and when I started, I couldn’t keep up with anyone. I couldn’t do a jumping jack and for sure couldn’t do a push up. Jab-Cross, Jab-Cross.

Having to practice and learn from the beginning when you really don’t know anything is not an easy task. Hook-Hook. Not being intimidated by others and working hard to master your skills is a real accomplishment. Hook-Hook. Somehow, when the hour is over and I have gotten through 8 rounds, I feel like I have succeeded for the entire day and am full of renewed energy. Hook-Hook.

Physical activity is really important at any age. But what about spiritual activity? How do we make our spiritual practice as important as our physical practice? How can we make sure that feeding the heart and mind are as important as working the body? Uppercut-Uppercut.

Let’s start with something small and build our way to spiritual fitness. Once a month, make a commitment to come to Beth El with your kids for Shabbat. Shabbat’s Cool is an opportunity for your students to learn and for you to be part of the community – and Chef Mike’s lunches are awesome! Shabbat is such an amazing chance to indulge in the spirituality and necessity of stopping, listening to your heart and truly resting. It is the absolute occasion where we can separate the mundane work week from the holiness of Shabbat. Just like becoming physically fit is a practice, so too is becoming spiritually fit. Jab-Cross. Perhaps you don’t know the prayers or the service. Hook-Hook. Perhaps you haven’t met any of the people in your student’s class or in the community. Uppercut-Uppercut. Perhaps it’s time that we build our way to a good and healthy Shabbat practice, and who knows – it may lead to spiritual fitness over time.

I hope to continue boxing. When the instructor yells “short time, short time” and I know I can do anything for the last seconds that remain, I hope I can push myself to my limits. I also hope to make my spiritual fitness as important as my physical fitness. It’s all a matter of time, priorities and understanding that we are made up of many components – and all of them deserve to be challenged. Are you willing to take the spiritual challenge together with me? See you on Shabbat!