Keeping fit is one of the requirements of Torah observance. A person should
watch his or her health through good diet, exercise and avoidance of
harmful habits like cigarettes. (Of course - over indulgence in matters of
the body is not what is intended).
A good way to stay in shape is bicycling. Cyclists usually follow two
types of training regimens - the solo training program to improve and
develop breathing, strength and cardiovascular health and the group ride to
go the distance and keep pace with others who share the same passion for
Each has its advantages and drawbacks. When training alone one has the
choice as to which skills and which health benefit one wants to improve
upon and one can work at one's own pace. The advantage of the group is that
each member has to conform to the pace and the route of the other riders
and is pushed to perform at higher and higher levels of exertion.
The disadvantage of training alone is a lack of drive to push for new
limits, while the disadvantage of a group ride is that the group may not be
strong enough to aid the growth of all of the cyclists participating in the
In matters of spiritual growth and personality perfection the decision on
how to train is much more crucial than the choice a biker may have to make.
Maimonides says that the human being was created with a natural tendency to
be drawn after the behavior patterns and the mores of those with whom one
has social contact. If one is part of a group that is at a higher plane in
observance and fear of Heaven the "group ride" is recommended because it
will naturally foster positive progress towards perfection. If, on the
other hand, one is surrounded by those who are not interested in growth,
then isolation -- the "solo ride" -- even at home on a stationery trainer
Bottom line - if you can't join a first class group -- go it alone!
DID YOU KNOW THAT
If someone borrowed a loaf of bread, he may repay his friend with a
different loaf, even if the loaf is slightly larger. This leniency applies
only where the size difference is insignificant.
However, if he borrowed a number of items (such as six eggs), he may return
only the number that was borrowed.
[Source: The Laws of Ribbis - Rabbi Yisroel Reisman, p. 34]
CONSIDER THIS FOR A MINUTE
Prayer is a sharp sword upon which the warrior relies for protection and to
attack his enemies.