Remember: Chayechah Kodmim


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By Rabbi Robert L. Kravitz –

Our world is troubled and crazy. We see armies and guerilla gangs fighting. We watch mass killings on TV. And we try to reconcile this with the U.S. Declaration of Independence’s “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

We’re slammed with too many obligations. We’re pressured by family, work, friends, neighbors…do this or that, help with the other thing, go here and there. Wow! It’s not easy living ‘the good life.’ But maybe we’re trying to go, to be, to do, to rush, to make more than we need to.

Maybe our tasks need to be more focused, our efforts reigned in. Maybe we need to de-stress. Maybe we should address self-care and personal wellness, first!

The Talmud (the Jewish Code of Laws argued for a thousand years prior to its codification in the 3rd century) cautions us, “Chayechah kodmim,” “Take care of yourself first.”

Truly, we cannot fix all the problems of the community and the world by ourselves. Certainly not, if we are not well. Our efforts to work with others might help move us toward that direction, but not if our health is negatively affected.

September’s calendar has Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (Jewish High Holy Days), and the festival of Eid al Adha (the Muslim holiday concluding the Hajj pilgrimage time and celebrating personal faith).

Together these special days highlight the need to look out for ourselves, and then be able to do what is needed. Feasting and fasting are ways religious people have from time immemorial chosen to express their faith.

Part of the responsibility of faith is to assure that the faithful are healthy enough to maintain their beliefs. “Chayechah kodmim.”

So as the world whirls and spins beyond our control, let us try at minimum to control what is in our ability to control…to take care of ourselves.

L’chaim, to life…And good health to you!

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