Bogrim delivers dvrei Torah around camp
Shavua Tov! This past weekend was Bogrim Shabbat. Before Friday night services we performed a dance and sang a song in front of the entire camp. The campers were all great and had a lot of fun being in front of the entire camp.
Saturday morning the campers completed the first piece of their take home Ramah project. Throughout the past three weeks, the campers have spent time in their Yehadut classes writing divrei Torah on the theme of Shmirat HaGoof (protecting the body). They then were divided up throughout the camp and in there groups delivered their prepared speeches to the different edot. The campers gave meaningful thoughtful speeches, which exemplified that hard work they put into them. My hope is that each camper will deliver the dvar that he or she worked on to his or her synagogues at home. Below I have included one of the divrei Torah given yesterday.
Right now, all the campers are divided up around camp in their different kishroniyah groups working on their different projects. Bible raps in laying down beats, a capella is practing harmonies, basketball is practicing their dribbling just to highlight a few…
Have a great week,
Bogrim 2009 – Session 1
“Spirituality and Physicality: The Body-Soul link”
Writers: Hayley Cohen, Jordan Shusterman, Jake Bergel, Aliza Layman
At camp, we pray at least once a day. It is a very spiritual experience some people believe that God can hear them when they pray and that God answers our prayers. Whether you believe that God can hear your prayers or not, the act of praying is supposed to be good for your soul, a kind of self-meditation. Judaism is a lot about mentality, and the state of your soul. That might be one of the hardest things about Judaism, because all these things are very abstract, intangible and nothing about them is concrete. But what about the concrete things? Whatd does Judaism think about your physical being?
One phrase that is commonly quoted in Judaism connects to this subject. In Genesis, it says: “For in the image of God, did God make humankind” (Genesis 9:6) and though this is usually taken metaphorically that our souls or minds are created in God’s image, it could be taken literally. When your body is the healthiest it can be, than that is truly an image of God, in a way.
The Tanakh encourages us to keep ourselves healthy. Later, in the Leviticus the Ta”NaKh commands: They shall not make gashes in their flesh” (Leviticus 19:28) . This commandment reinforces the Torah’s policy to keep your body healthy. Being healthy and fit is, in an interpretation, an image of God.
Philo, a famous Jewish philosopher, said that “The body is the soul’s house. Therefore, shouldn’t we take care of our house so that it does not fall into ruin.” (Philo, The horse attacks the Better section 10) Taking care of your body becomes, not only something that the Torah commands us, but something we do for ourselves, for our benefit. This quote introduces body and soul together, like one effects the other. If your body “fell into ruin” using this quote, you could infer that your soul would be “homeless” in a sense. This proposes the idea that the body’s state and the soul’s state are directly connected and interdependent. The better your body is, the better your soul is. Is this what Philo is suggesting?
The medieval commentator and halakhist Rabbi Shlomo ben Aderet wrote in Avot HaKodesh of something similar. It says: “If your custom is to take walks, you should intend it for the sake of heaven- in order to be healthy for the service of God. Your thought should be that you are exercising so that your mind (and your soul) will be relaxed and vigorous.” (Avot HaKodesh, Moreh B’Etzbah 3-123) This backs up the idea of the connection between the soul and the body, and ties that connection back to God saying “to be healthy for the service of God.” So what we can draw from this commentary are a few things. First, that your body’s and your soul’s states are connected. Second, that we keep both ends of that connection healthy for God and for ourselves. Keeping yourself physically healthy is a very important priority in Judaism. Which is one of the many reasons we need to keep ourselves healthy. In the Talmud it says: “Wherever the potential for harm is ever present, we do not rely on miracles to save us from harm.” (Talmud Bavli, Masekhet Kiddushin) Being unhealthy is a very harmful to yourself, and we cannot rely on God to keep us healthy, just because the Torah commands us to. You should be doing it for yourself as well as fulfilling a commandment of the Torah. And the healthier your body is, the healthier, and hopefully the happier, your soul will be.