Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  Page title
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Partners with Hashem

Health Benefits: Understanding the Mitzva of Krias Shema

Once there were two farmers living in Israel. Reuven owned a vineyard in the north and lived in the south, while Shimon owned a vineyard in the south and lived in the north. Each one traveled a great distance to get to work.

One day, Reuven and Shimon met up and realized that there was no reason to travel so far to take care of their respective vineyards. Reuven could tend Shimon’s vineyard in the south, and Shimon could tend Reuven’s vineyard in the north. This way all of the grapes would be taken care of without the tremendous effort of cross-country commutes (Midrash Tanchuma, Kedoshim 6, as cited by Mishna Berura 61,6).

Our Sages use this story as a parable to explain the health benefits of reciting Krias Shema twice a day. Hashem tells us, “If you accept My mitzvos by saying Shema and accepting the yoke of mitzvos anew twice a day, I will protect your health.” Though the connection between this promise and the above parable is not immediately clear, by delving a little deeper we will come to a profound understanding.

The average person takes some steps to safeguard his health by visiting the local doctor, watching his diet, or exercising regularly. While this is obviously an acceptable, and sometimes essential, way to make sure one will live a long and healthy life, there is a “wonder drug” that obviates the need for putting a great deal of time into the pursuit of health. Even the greatest doctors have only a partial understanding of how the human body works; none can guarantee complete cure from an illness. Hashem, on the other hand, has total control of all our bodily processes, and He can certainly ensure good health. For Hashem, healing our bodies is as easy as caring for a nearby vineyard.

Mitzvos, on the other hand, are done in this physical world, and only a Jew, who is a synthesis of the physical and spiritual, can perform them. They are our most valuable spiritual assets, and thus are represented by the second vineyard in our parable. If we undertake to tend the nearby vineyard of mitzvos in this world, Hashem promises us that he will take care of our health, which is difficult for us but easy for Him.

This agreement to tend to our local vineyard, our Sages reveal, is affirmed when we say Shema twice a day and accept upon ourselves the observance of the mitzvos. If we do this properly, we can rest assured that Hashem will keep His part of the deal and watch over our health. Let us try and understand the guidelines of how to say Shema in a way that will provide us with the maximum health benefits.


Text Copyright © 2009 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org


 
Sell Chometz Online







ARTICLES ON KEDOSHIM AND THE OMER:

View Complete List

Basic Recognition
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5764

Now Become Holy!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5770

Nothing To Fear
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5765

> The Three Crowns
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5762

A Deafening Silence
Rabbi Label Lam - 5773

“Letter to my Son Akiva”
Jon Erlbaum - 5773

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Make Your Parents and Teachers Proud
Shlomo Katz - 5763

Different Strokes for Different Folks
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5772

Holiness - Served Fresh
Shlomo Katz - 5764

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

The Third Rail
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5764

Role of Spouse in Loving One's Neighbor
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5763

Motherhood & Shabbos Pie
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5759

ArtScroll

Lag B'Omer
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

Be a Holy Nation!
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5757

Holiness Applies to More than Bagel
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5757

A Holy Mindset
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5772



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information