Listening to myself: Following through on what was calling me.
When in Jerusalem I had a desire to go to Tiberias and see the tomb of Rambam, Rabbi Moses ben Maimonides. Honestly, I have yet to read most of his work; yet, ever since familiarizing myself with his approach with health I felt a strong connection with him. However, the travel from Jerusalem to Tiberias is a pretty long trip, especially if done in one day. Doubts and worries crept in that I wouldn’t make it - other students couldn’t make it and it wasn’t a trip I’d take by myself. My mother’s cousin, who lives up North about an hour from Tiberias, came to visit Jerusalem for a few days. Oddly, there was hesitation in me to go up North to stay with them. After sleeping and meditating on it, I realized it was fear keeping me from a new adventure. I decided to jump and, as I like to say, “things work(ed) out better than I could imagine.” Instead of having to take a bus, a car ride was offered. Then, the next day, my first cousin, once removed, took me to Tiberias. Thank G-d, it was such an uplifting experience and I felt so pleased with my decision and so grateful for his generosity! I bathed in a hot spring, cooled off in the Kinneret, and visited the holy grave sites of the Rambam, Rabbi Akiva, Rachel the wife of Rabbi Akiva, Rabbi Meir Ba'al HaNess (the Miracle Maker), Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakkai, and other great Jewish sages. Tiberias is known as one of the 4 holy cities corresponding to the 4 elements. The holiness of Tiberias is revealed through water. Just as water flows from higher to lower, these great teachers shared higher wisdom to their students and onwards to us. Without realizing until I was in Tiberias, I had visited all 4 of the Holy Cities this trip - Jerusalem (fire), Hebron (earth), Tsfat (air), and Tiberias (water).
Studying and being at the Yeshiva is fun and one is surrounded by others to learn, but if there’s one thing I remind myself of, which correlates with the lesson above, it is to play and go for adventure, go for the unknown. There’s a time and place for study in a hall, but the real learning comes from applying the lessons from weeks 1-5 in Jerusalem (on blog). The convenience and comfort of a yeshiva can promote learning, but it can also keep one from adventure and stretching themselves. As I have learned from Dr Joe Dispenza’s teachings and meditation retreat, experience enriches circuitry in the brain and produces an emotion. When knowledge is experienced it is internalized. The brain may think, but the heart knows.
Do not learn an excessive amount of Torah. A person must protect his body from illness and weakness. Therefore, it is necessary to rest, take a break, and breath fresh air. It is necessary to take a walk in the afternoons or to sit in your room and rest… You should bathe to strengthen your body… If, as a result of excessive Torah study, a person fails to take care of his health and becomes ill… he will be accountable for that in Heaven – The Chofetz Chaim, Meir Einei Yisrael, vol.2, p. 168-169 (I learned from Health & Wellness Halachic Perspectives by Rabbi Ari Enkin.)