Friday, July 13, 2007

Runs in the Family

In memory of Dovid ben Eliezer.
To dedicate a future Table Talk, send an email.

Does anybody remember Jim Fixx? He found himself at age 35 an overweight chain smoker and decided to do something about it. By age 45 he had run the Boston marathon and written one of the best-selling fitness books of all time.

Could this be you?

Why not?

What is it about exercise?

It was eerie when Fixx died of a heart attack. Running is supposed to make your heart stronger. (And maybe it did, as his own father’s heart attack came when he was seventeen years younger.)

When my father passed away at age 65, part of the shock for many people was his fitness. He was a little bit zealous about health, challenging others to follow in his footsteps.

One morning when I was visiting from Israel he woke me up at six to run downtown. I didn’t even have time to put on tefillin, as I had started to do. “Honor your father” is in the Top Ten, right? It was a grueling trot through back alleys, down railroad tracks, over and under bridges, taking every chance to stay off the beaten path.

My dad also knew that the way to get someone to overcome their laziness and act with zreezus is to give them a challenge. His favorite was, "How can you run across seven bridges downtown without repeating? His running-mates at the Y created an annual “Denny’s Seven Bridges Run” fundraiser, in his memory (this year it will be on August 3 in the downtown Y).

But the reverberations from the death of a righteous person come from his impact. Jim Fixx and my father had that in common too.

Hamming on camera for the grandkids

I don’t know why I always associate them with each other. Maybe because of Fixx’s famous legs on the cover of his book look a lot like my dad’s did. Maybe because they were born and died exactly 6 days apart on the Hebrew calendar (albeit in different years).

So if you’re like me and not getting enough CV exercise, what’s your excuse?

Try this at your table: What are the most common reasons for people not doing what they know and agree that they should be doing?

I’m of the opinion that health is only half the benefit of exercise – the other benefit is simply the exercise it gives to your free will. After all, it is so hard to get off that couch! But it gets a little easier every time...

The other pillar of longevity, of course, is oatmeal. Needless to say?

So let’s take it out with yet another excellent youtube film, that I know my dad and Jim Fixx would have loved:

Shabbat Shalom.

PS – no, Fixx was not Jewish, to my knowledge, but the lead singer of the Fixx is.

Upcoming speaking schedule:

July 18 – Los Angeles (Helkeinu, 310-785-0440)
August 7-8 – St. Louis (CAJE):
"You Can Teach the Talmud!"
"Combating Missionaries: The 'Why be Jewish?' Defense"
"Two Plus Five: How to Teach Spirituality"

(For details, send an email)

Yiddish of the week:
Zreezus — zeal

Yiddish review - how many do you know?
anee — poor person
koptsen — panhandler
ballaboss — homeowner; layman
nu — various meanings (see archives)
mishpocha — family
mameh — mother
tateh — father
mazal – (MAH-z’l) luck or fortune, as in, “It was good mazal that....”
beshert – (b’shairt) - meant to be, as in “It was beshert that...”
mine eltern – my parents
mine lair-er – my teacher
hamantashen – Haman-pockets
zeigezunt – all the best (said upon parting)
kesher - connection
Ikh volt veln a kave, zayt azoy gut. - I'd like a coffee, please.
...kave mit shmant. – ...a coffee with cream.
...kave mit milkh. – ...a coffee with milk.
...kave mit tsuker. - ...a coffee with sugar.
Di Fir Kashes - The Four Questions
Oy vey! - Good grief!
mensch — a decent person
rachmanos — mercy
neshoma (neh-SHOH-ma) — soul
minig — custom, as in, "Why do you do that?" "It's my minig!"
Gavaltig — wonderful
Oy gavalt — how wonderful (sarcastic)
Azoy gait es! — That’s how it goes!
Shabbos — Cessation; stopping; day of stopping; weekly sabbatical experience
"Gut Shabbos" — "Enjoy your weekly sabbatical experience"
Neshoma — Soul
meshugass — insanity
meshuganeh — insane
kyna hara — no evil eye
shvitz — sweat
shanda — shame
Lechayim! — Cheers!
Pinteleh Yid — the Jewish feeling in the heart of every Jew

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