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September 30, 2014

Body Image“STRENGTH IS BEAUTIFUL” – Super strong video of Serena Williams by @beatsbydre– Check out the Video

I am going to do a bit of a different format for the Blog this week as no Parsha to write on. As this Shabbat is Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), I will give the Blog a Yom Kippur flavour.

“Fasting and praying are important ingredients of Yom Kippur and are signs of repentance for our transgressions against God. But, as is well known, Yom Kippur does not provide atonement for sins committed against human beings” – Rabbi Marc D. Angel

Maimonides teaches (Laws of Repentance, 2:9): “Repentance and the Day of Atonement only atone for sins between human beings and God, but interpersonal sins are never forgiven until a person has made restitution and appeased the one whom he has wronged….Even if he merely belittled a person with words, he must appease him and go to him until he is granted forgiveness.”

A few days ago Loren mentioned that our daughter and her friends were starting to worry about their weight and what they eat.

Growing up I recall two “body image” related incidents. I do feel that both have impacted me in some way.

In primary school we were doing a class play and the teacher said she needed someone fat for one of the roles. She straight away said that Ian can do the part – I don’t think I ever considered myself fat!

In the 3rd year of high school, one of the guys said to me while we were changing for PE “Ian, you have gone staunch (Well built for non South African Readers)”. I had recently started training in a gym.

In my blogging, Podcast listening and cooking I have followed a number of people and learnt so much. One such person that I follow is Fully Raw Kristina. Besides being beautiful, Kristina posts unbelievable recipes, is an entrepreneur, a living Raw coach and at the age of 20 before she graduated college, she started the non-profit organization called Rawfully Organic.

A few days ago Kristina posted the following on Instagram – “TUESDAY TRANSFORMATION: From sickness to health! 10 years ago I was 87 lbs and 5’7. I suffered from hyperglycemia, migraines, dehydration, constipation, fatigue, anemia, and emaciation. Since I started eating #FullyRaw vegan, my life has transformed! Removing processed foods, meats, dairy, and gluten and eating the purest foods (raw fruits and veggies) allowed my body to cleanse, rebuild, and restore. Today, I’m disease-free, happy, and healthy! Don’t believe me? Check out my intensive lab results: VIDEO LINK IN PROFILE. I’ve literally changed my cellular composition! Proof is in the lifestyle. Healthy on the inside, happy on the outside!” – fullyrawkristina

Since I have started following her, I have been horrified that people have posted such blatantly cruel comments to her Facebook and Instagram accounts. How can people be so horrible?

In last week’s Torah Posrtion Haazinu, we read of the death of Moses. Moses begged G-d to reach his goal and enter the land of Israel. G-d did not allow this to happen. Below is a beautiful though on this:

On the verse, “Go up to this mountain,” the sages comment that G-d was saying to Moshe, aliyah hee lekha ve’enah yeridah. “It is a going up for you and not a going down” (Yalkut Deut. 949). Even though he did riot get what he wanted most, the life of Moshe was not a yeridah (Decending). On the contrary! The very fact that he passed away with a great dream in his heart indicated that his entire life was an aliyah (ascent or the act of going up) – one of endless striving and climbing higher and higher in the service of his people and in the love of his G-d.

The truth is that there are so many things to be done and so many plans to be worked on. Few ever hope to accomplish everything in the span of three -score years and ten, or even in twice that long. But that is not the crucial test of the good and worthwhile life. What is supremely important is that we perform the task of each day honestly and well. Baruch ha-Shem yom yom is a motto we repeat in our daily prayers. Blessed is G-d for giving us the opportunity to live and function gracefully every day. Each day, when lived honourably and usefully, brings its own reward. The striving to do better, to make life more meaningful for ourselves, our loved ones, and others -that is of true and lasting significance in the annals of G-d and in the eyes of man

I read that a number of commentators say that if all the “children” of Israel would have begged G-d to allow Moses to enter Israel, G-d would have allowed him to enter. Why did they not ask?

We are now in the 10 days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. These are the Days of Awe (Yamim Noraim) or the Days of Repentance. This is a time for serious introspection, a time to consider the sins of the previous year and repent before Yom Kippur. During this time we read a special prayer called Avinu Malkeinu (“Our Father, Our King”)[1]

I noticed one of the Verses says – “Our Father our King – seal the mouths of our adversaries and accusers”

” Apologising doesn’t always mean you’re wrong and the other person is right. It means you value your relationship more than your ego.” – @roblouw6

During the Ten Days of forgiveness is a time to personally ask people for forgiveness.

Body Image is such a tough thing for many to cope with. Body image is an issue especially of concern to young people. Research tells us that negative body image can affect self-esteem and general well-being, inhibit participation in social activities and lead to serious health issues such as depression, eating disorders and social isolation.

This is why action is being taken to promote positive body image and to build young people’s resilience to negative body image pressures

Rather than knocking these people we should all be supporting people like Serena Williams (Who has had her share of abuse) and Fully Raw Kristina in trying to achieve their goals and are chasing their dreams. These people are very proud of their bodies and are promoting positive body image and should be helped in their ascents!

I am sure these negative words on social media do have an impact on them, as those two incidents stick in my memory.

To all those social media “trolls” out there you should be apologising to these positive role models, and if you don’t have any good things to say rather make a donation to organisations such as .

The Butterfly Foundation’s vision and mission is to live in a world that celebrates health, well-being and diversity.

Butterfly is dedicated to bringing about change to the culture, policy and practice in the prevention, treatment and support of those affected by eating disorders and negative body image.

Butterfly provides support for Australians who suffer from eating disorders and negative body image issues and their carers.

To end a quote from Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks – “To those who fully open themselves to it, Yom Kippur is a life-transforming experience. It tells us that God, who created the universe in love and forgiveness, reaches out to us in love and forgiveness, asking us to love and forgive others. God never asked us not to make mistakes. All He asks is that we acknowledge our mistakes, learn from them, grow through them, and make amends where we can.” – The Koren Sacks Yom Kippur Machzor, p.lxix



[1] Rabbi Akiva in­stituted this prayer, as it is stated: “Once Rabbi Eliezer or­dered 13 fast days, but no rains fell…. Rabbi Akiva followed him before the Ark and said, ‘Our Father, our King, we have no king but Thee.’ He was immediately an­swered” (Taanit 25b). For further insight see –

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