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Jewish Journal

JewishJournal.com

September 8, 2007

7-step set training for spiritual fitness

http://www.jewishjournal.com/high_holy_days/article/7step_set_training_for_spiritual_fitness_20070909

Photo illustration by Carvin Knowles

Photo illustration by Carvin Knowles

So you've trained all summer in order to show off that tight body at the beach. Well, as the High Holy Days roll around, impressing the opposite sex seems less and less important.

Now it's time to show off your Judaism at shul so you can impress your rabbi. And if your rabbi is a member of the opposite sex, you can't lose.

More importantly, now is the time to capitalize on that expensive shul membership and start going to morning minyan once in a while. The New Year is when you can turn your life around.

Let's get started.

Step One: Test Your Limits

Go to shul a few times before the holiday and see whether you sit can through a three-hour service. If you can do that, you can do anything. If you do, however, feel the need to rest your mind, try to do it during the rabbi's intriguing sermon. Your mind will absorb the material better. But be sure to stretch when you wake up.

Step Two: Rid Yourself of Carbs

A great way to do this is by tossing a few bread crumbs in the nearest body of water during Tashlich. Tashlich can be a great way to send off your complex sins in one quick swoop. With each passing crumb, let loose your sinful baggage as a huge weight is lifted off your shoulders.

Step Three: Start Lifting

Get into spiritual shape by starting to lift ... the Torah. Hagbah will surely impress your rabbi in addition to increasing your participation during the service. The key is to take on more roles and lead more parts. Hagbah is relatively easy and doesn't require a lot of knowledge of Hebrew. But if you're still a little unsure, warm up with an ark opening, then shift to hagbah. Once you've mastered the art of torah-lifting, wrap it all up with a quick, painless Gelilah. But remember, maintain full control, or you'll put everyone on a forced diet.

Step Four: Sets and Reps

Start off with three sets of prayer each day at a slow to moderate pace and focus on repetition ... of the Amidah. These 18 blessings will truly give you a deeper insight to the religion, while providing you with a deeper connection to God. Getting in the groove of daily prayer is an excellent way to strengthen your bond with The Lord.

Step Five: Training With Grace

Sure machine weights are effective, but the ultimate grace is best achieved with a solid, sincere, bensch. It's important to get in the habit of thanking God after each meal. And while you're at it, be thankful for everything else in this world ... from when you lie down at night, to when you rise in the morning.

Step Six: Get Toned

Better yet, get atoned. While you're thinking about the sins you've committed this year, think about the ways those wrongs could have been rights. Be regretful for the way you once acted, and do your best to be more of a mensch in the coming year. Set goals for yourself and try taking a jog down the derech eretz.

Step Seven: Gain The Definition You Want

Understand the meaning of what you're doing. Understand the meaning of prayer, the meaning of religion and the meaning of God. And only when you understand all these meanings will you truly gain definition.

Now just follow these seven simple steps on a daily basis and you'll really get into that spiritual mindset that'll impress your rabbi. Its time to turn the Ten Days of Awe into the Ten Days of Awesome.

And if you're craving a more intense exercise, be sure to check out our other High Holy Day workouts such as, Diet for Your Sins; Practice, Practice, Practice Your Religion; and our special Yom Kippur workout: Don't Eat and DonAte.

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