Hip Health and Spiritual Growth

A few months ago in a post called From Healing The Hip To Strengthening The Soul, I discussed a secular friend’s desire to develop his spiritual side. I mentioned that I can’t identify a tried and true path for Jewish people who want to grow spiritually, but are not necessarily on a path to full Torah observance in an observant community. This is the second 3-minute-read post of the series I mentioned there.

Let me explain the hip connection. I’ve been a 3-4 times a week, 40 minute runner, for most of my adult life. About 5 years ago, I was getting pains in my hip joint area. I went to my medical doctor and his recommendation was to take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication. This is a standard medical response for chronic joint pain. And it worked. I was able to function and even run on the medication.

About 18 months ago, I took two of my kids to an amusement park with roller coasters. The next day, before Shacharis, I had an intensely sharp shooting pain in my hip joint which caused me to buckle over my car. I hobbled to Shul and the intense pain would come back periodically. I mentioned this to David (Linn) and he said there was a PT in Great Neck who had done wonders for a number of people in our neighborhood. I went to see him.

Dr. Weisberg said my hip was so lacking in mobility that I was headed straight for a hip replacement. He took me off anti-inflammatories and taught me the proper way to use icing. He gave me 10 minutes of stretches to do twice a day. I’ve done the stretches religiously, and I haven’t taken an anti-inflammatory in 18 months; I no longer need icing; and my hip is gradually getting stronger and stronger.

What I’ve learned is the power of proper repetition over time. And proper repetition will strengthen our spiritual side as well. Saying Berachos, Shema, Shomoneh Esrai and doing mitzvos repetitively are meant to help us develop a deep spiritual connection to G-d. However it’s clear that the vast majority of observant Jews don’t have such a deep connection. Certainly Torah Observance leads to some connection, but it’s not a deep spiritual connection because we’re not doing the mitzvos properly with mindfulness, focus and kavanna.

If I’m going to help my friend really develop his spiritual side, I need to work on using the mitzvos properly to develop a deep spiritual connection to G-d. (End of part 2)

6 comments on “Hip Health and Spiritual Growth

  1. Swimming ( separate, of course as at the Forest Hills Y) is a great means of exercise as well. So much of what we call davening is called in any good Siddur part of a Seder, which means that the words are a means to a spiritual end, which entail great preparation and study if the same will have any spiritual benefit.

  2. For the hip, maybe look into Apostherapy. It’s a very unique shoe, worn only an hour a day, but it’s helped a lot of people with knee pains, and I believe hip pains. I’ve been using it after recuperating from serious double surgeries on my ankles and see great results from it. Two people I know have been putting off knee operations for several years through wearing these shoe and I’ve met others who almost literally sing the praises of this shoe/therapy. Everybody in the store, at least here in Jerusalem, are physical therapists.

    Can be found on the web. Originally developed in Eretz Yisroel by two Orthopedic doctors and they recently opened an office in Manhattan, as well as London and Singapore. Something special.

  3. I’ve long noticed an analogy between physical exercise and spiritual exercise.

    When I first began doing gym workouts, I went through the motions, but didn’t put much effort into it. It was boring and not very productive.

    Later on I found that to get positive results, I had to focus on the movements and do them with concentration. Once a certain level of intensity is attained, the workout even becomes enjoyable.

    Years later, when I became a BT, I eventually discovered the same applies to “spiritual exercise.”

    I’ve also discovered the significance of saying the blessings associated with the rituals. When I say “…asher kidishanu bemitzvotav vetzivanu…” (…who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us…), it reminds me that I’m performing the act to connect to G-d.

  4. It’s truly amazing how when trying to help others, we grow our self, and side by side, we learn and grow together.

    Things often become rote if we let it. But when we put kavanah in, we bring life and meaning into what we do.

    I think the reason why non-observant Jews don’t see ritual observance as important is because it just looks like rituals. And so they prefer to do it their way whether through music etc.

    If we improve our own kavanah and put meaning and joy into our observance, we can be an example for others to see that Torah and mitzvos like Shabbos and kosher among other mitzvos, are truly what we need to nourish our soul and bring light to the world

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