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There is lots to complain about, BUT!

June 12, 2014

My friend Lisa Fallon Mindel posted the following quote – “Hills. We love them. We hate them. They make us strong. They make us weak. Today I choose to embrace them” Hal Higdon

Below is a brief summary of Parsha Shelach from  – Moses sends twelve spies to the land of Canaan. Forty days later they return, carrying a huge cluster of grapes, a pomegranate and a fig, to report on a lush and bountiful land. But ten of the spies warn that the inhabitants of the land are giants and warriors “more powerful than we”; only Caleb and Joshua insist that the land can be conquered, as G-d has commanded.

The people weep that they’d rather return to Egypt. G-d decrees that Israel’s entry into the Land shall be delayed forty years, during which time that entire generation will die out in the desert. A group of remorseful Jews storm the mountain on the border of the Land, and are routed by the Amalekites and Canaanites.

The laws of the menachot (meal, wine and oil offerings) are given, as well as the mitzvah to consecrate a portion of the dough (challah) to G-d when making bread. A man violates the Shabbat by gathering sticks, and is put to death. G-d instructs to place fringes (tzitzit) on the four corners of our garments, so that we should remember to fulfil the mitzvoth (divine commandments).

Nearly two weeks ago I injured myself. I started to feel some pain after a long run (which I had loved!) and have not been able to run since then. Like any triathlete I have been complaining that I have not been able to train. I have not run for nearly two weeks. Darron Goralsky, my physio said I need to rest. Me do I need to REST!! Maybe I need to follow the RICE advice – Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. (At the Bottom I will jot some points I noted from a Podcast on – What to Do when you get injured! – I am no expert so get EXPERT Advice!). We all find things to complain about however petty. Should we be complaining so much?

In both last weeks’ Torah Parsha of Behaaloscha and in this week’s Parsha of Shelach, we read about complaining. There are there some life lessons we can learn from complaining!

  1. In Last Week’s Parsah it says – “And the nation was ‘k-misonenim’ [they were LIKE complainers]”. Strangely, the Torah does not state that the people complained. It states that they were “like complainers”. What does that mean? The Rambam explains that people get upset and when they are in pain, they complain. This is somewhat of a mitigating factor. They are only “LIKE” complainers. We cannot really throw the book at them. They were doing what comes naturally for those who are in pain. The Rambam goes on – This is one of the great challenges of life. Happiness-comes-when-we-stop-complaining-about-theMost of us are extremely fortunate. Most of us have good health and families. We have so much good! But when things are not 100% right, we complain. The Ramban is saying that this is not right. We should be looking at the “big picture” before we start complaining. The big picture is that there is a bounty of blessing we are enjoying despite the bumps in the road or the pot holes in the road or the ditch in the road that we occasionally get stuck in. We still should not complain because the sum total of our life is still overwhelmingly tilted towards the side of joy, gladness, and abundance of that which is good.
  2. In this Weeks Parsha it says – The final statement the Meraglim [Spies] made concerning their report regarding what they saw in the Land of Israel was: “There we saw the Nephillim, the sons of a giant from among the Nephillim; we in our eyes like grasshoppers; and so too were we in their eyes.” [Bamidbar 13:33]. I read a beautiful thought from Rabbi Frand – The answer we have given is that if one perceives himself as a grasshopper then that will be how others perceive him as well! To put it colloquially, “if you think you are a shmateh [rag], then that is how others will look at you as well.” This is an important lesson in life. We must have a certain level of confidence in who we are. No one should make the mistake to think (as some people do) that if I think I am not a grasshopper then I am being haughty. This is not a matter of arrogance. The definition of modesty is not to go around saying “I am nothing. I know nothing. I am a zero.” The definition of appropriate modesty is to recognize who I am and what talents I have, but not to be proud about it because I realize that it is all a gift from the Master of the World.

There is so much we can learn from the story of the spies and Caleb and Joshua. This week I was helping my daughter for her Gemorrah (Oral Law) exam studying. This was something I really enjoyed. We were learning that the opinion of the majority of Rabbis overrides a single Rabbi, no matter how good the evidence. This is in the famous story of the Rabbi Eliezer and the oven. (See Babylonian Talmud, Baba Metzia 59b).  But in life things may be different and there are lessons to be learnt. Rabbi Marc Angel says “that Torah is not only teaching that majorities can be wrong, it is also teaching that unique individuals are able to stand up against erring majorities. It often happens that wise individuals see more clearly than the dominant majorities; strong and calm individuals are better guides than fear-mongering or self-serving majorities.” He goes on to say “Our goals should be to strive for genuine truth and to make the best decisions. We are more apt to achieve these goals if we think calmly and carefully, if we try to factor in all relevant information…and if we do not allow ourselves to be swept up by the fears, anxieties and judgments of others–even if they are the majority.”

  1. I have just listened to a Rich Roll Podcast. Rich interviewed Olympic Swimmer Rebecca Soni[1]. Rebecca has the following quote – “We live in a culture that is fed by negativity… people scared to take that step ….people are scared to try something different” It is easier to complain or to say how can you do that etc..

People complain about early morning training, doing hills ( I love the hills for both running and cycling), their diet etc. Rather than complaining get inspired by others to make changes.

Last weekend at IM Cairns a girl Sharn McNeill completed an Ironman event. On the 2nd July 2013, Sharn was given devastating news that would change her life forever. Sharn was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive form of Motor Neurone Disease known as ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis). Only 30 years old and in the prime of her life, aspirations for motherhood, Ironman and opening a teahouse were shattered. Sharn had lots to COMPLAIN about!

The story behind her Ironman 2014 – Prior to her diagnosis Sharn had many dreams and aspirations. On the top of her list was…to complete an Ironman event.

While this rare, aggressive form of the disease has caused her movement and speech to slow down, did not put a stop to her achieving her long-term dream.

Thanks to the help of Sharn’s wonderful group of friends – headed by Craig Gruber, she was be able to tick this item off her list on June 8th this year.

Craig wore a harness to pull her on a kayak on the 3.8-kilometre swim leg; her recumbent bicycle was attached to his bike during the 180-kilometer ride and he assisted her with a wheelchair (when needed) on the 42.2-kilometre run. Sharn l then walked to the finish line to hear those 4 special words: YOU. ARE. AN. IRONMAN!

What an inspiration!!!

Rather than Complaining:

  • take note of the “big picture” & all the good in our lives;
  • remember you are not a “Nothing”; and
  • rather than complaining and being negative about diet, exercise and lifestyle, be inspired by others to take the first step.Now hopefully I will recover quickly from my injury and get my training and exercise back into swing. I noticed the following quote – “However long the night, the dawn will break.” -African Proverb

bikebug Remember COMPLAINTS can also be Positive!

I would never complain about the position I’m in or the attention I get. At the end of the day, I’m very lucky to have what I have and do what I do, but I don’t see myself as any different from anyone else who works hard and is a dad and a husband.David Beckham

Podcast – What to do when you get injured – Simon Ward –

Below are some key points I Noted:

  • RICE
  • Get a Diagnosis
    • Route Cause
    • Listen to what e.g. Physio says
  • Discipline to do the necessary stretching/ rehab – This needs to be on-going to prevent further injury
  • Cross Training
  • Positive mind set
  • Eat to recover
  • Modify training e.g. use Pull buoy for swimming if injured leg
  • Opportunity to access other “niggles”
  • Technique correction – You can Change




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One Comment
  1. Mom permalink

    Loved the blog very inspiring & great quotes. So many people need to follow this valuable advice & lrsson. Thanks xxx

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