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FLEXIBLE

October 28, 2015

“You’ll have moments when you feel like a lion, and moments when you feel like a mouse. Just know that no matter how you feel, you are still capable of achieving the greatest feats. So learn to roar even when you feel small, because you are more than the feelings you may have” – Quote from Amanda Bisk while stretching on Instagram. One follower responds – “photo goals for flexible people like you😊👌

Summary of Torah Parsha (Portion) Vayeira from www.chabad.org – G‑d reveals Himself to Abraham three days after the first Jew’s circumcision at age ninety-nine; but Abraham rushes off to prepare a meal for three guests who appear in the desert heat. One of the three—who are angels disguised as men—announces that, in exactly one year, the barren Sarah will give birth to a son. Sarah laughs.

Abraham pleads with G‑d to spare the wicked city of Sodom. Two of the three disguised angels arrive in the doomed city, where Abraham’s nephew Lot extends his hospitality to them and protects them from the evil intentions of a Sodomite mob. The two guests reveal that they have come to overturn the place, and to save Lot and his family. Lot’s wife turns into a pillar of salt when she disobeys the command not to look back at the burning city as they flee.

While taking shelter in a cave, Lot’s two daughters (believing that they and their father are the only ones left alive in the world) get their father drunk, lie with him and become pregnant. The two sons born from this incident father the nations of Moab and Ammon.

Abraham moves to Gerar, where the Philistine king Abimelech takes Sarah—who is presented as Abraham’s sister—to his palace. In a dream, G‑d warns Abimelech that he will die unless he returns the woman to her husband. Abraham explains that he feared he would be killed over the beautiful Sarah.

G‑d remembers His promise to Sarah, and gives her and Abraham a son, who is named Isaac (Yitzchak, meaning “will laugh”). Isaac is circumcised at the age of eight days; Abraham is one hundred years old, and Sarah ninety, at their child’s birth.

Hagar and Ishmael are banished from Abraham’s home and wander in the desert; G‑d hears the cry of the dying lad, and saves his life by showing his mother a well. Abimelech makes a treaty with Abraham at Beersheba, where Abraham gives him seven sheep as a sign of their truce.

G‑d tests Abraham’s devotion by commanding him to sacrifice Isaac on Mount Moriah (the Temple Mount) in Jerusalem. Isaac is bound and placed on the altar, and Abraham raises the knife to slaughter his son. A voice from heaven calls to stop him; a ram, caught in the undergrowth by its horns, is offered in Isaac’s place. Abraham receives the news of the birth of a daughter, Rebecca, to his nephew Bethuel.

“…Age Group athletes are not very durable athletes..” – Fat Black Podcast

FLEXOn Friday I went for a massage at my physio and the masseuse told me how tight my muscles in my legs and hips were and did what he could to try loosen a few muscles in my hips, legs and calves. He had fun and I went through total pain. I suppose this is the consequence of being so inflexible! I have always been pretty inflexible even though I do try to stretch. May be not enough, maybe not the right stretches and definitely not enough post exercise. On the other hand my daughter is currently doing a PowerPoint assignment on stretching and flexibility for her dance course. Dancers like my daughter are so flexible! I can’t dance but maybe yoga….? What can we learn from this?

Before starting I will relate a second incident from Friday. On Friday night I decided to go with my Mom to a Shule nearer to my house to support the Shabbos Project. Set up in this Orthodox Shule was a keyboard and a pianist looked ready to start playing. I had never experienced this and thought what am I doing here? Should I go to a different Shule? How does music fit into the Friday night service? I decided to stay and enjoyed the service and experience (including a Whiskey L’Chaim while davening). The pianist only played until the point when the service brings in the Shabbos. Again what can we learn from my behaviour? Are we too set in our ways and too inflexible?

I have read a few beautiful thoughts on this week’s Torah Portion and lessons learn on being flexible that I would like to share.

In the Parsha Abraham successfully completes 10 tests/ ordeals from G-d ‘…Now I know that you are a fearer of G-d…’ [Parsha Vayeira Ch. 22 , verse12]. In a Dvar Torah from R Yitschak from Kabalah in Ohio[i], he list 10 ways to deal with ordeals. One of the points he says is DEVELOP THE PROPER ATTITUDE TO BE ABLE TO PROCESS ORDEALS IN THE EASIEST WAY POSSIBLE. He goes further include under this header – Be flexible—expect the unexpected and go with whatever flow of tests are sent your way.

In a separate Dvar Torah from Ohr Torah[ii], Rabbi Adam Aranov in discussing how Abraham treated his guests – “Now the Lord appeared to him in the plains of Mamre, and he was sitting at the entrance of the tent when the day was hot.” (Genesis, 18:1). Abraham’s sat at the entrance to his tent waiting to bring guests into his home. …. He lived for inviting guests so that he can express his loving kindness. He did this even when he didn’t feel like he wanted to. He was a good person even though he had every reason to take a break after just being circumcised at the age of ~99. Abraham taught us a valuable lesson here. We do what is right always, even if we don’t feel like it. Doing this makes us good people for real. It ingrains in us a commitment to be good that can never be shaken by anyone or anything.

Rabbi Aranov ends with this quote “You may call it being stubborn, or inflexible. It’s okay to be stubborn for the right thing. Being flexible for the wrong things invites destruction.”

I am talking of my body being inflexible, but we all may be inflexible in so many ways, like in our business dealings, the ways we do things, our attitude to helping & caring and in our relationships with family & friends.

I am not like my daughter or Amanda Bisk who are so supple and flexible, but I can continue to work and try to get more flexible as ultimately I know that I will benefit and reduce the incidence of injury (durability!), but there are time when we need to “go with the flow” or “step out of our comfort zones” and then there are times when there is no room for flexibility.

I think with the Shabbos Project, so many people stepped out of their comfort zones and made this past Shabbos so special in Melbourne. Well done to the organisers #KeepinItTogether

[i] https://www.facebook.com/KabbalahInOhio/info/?tab=page_info

[ii] http://ohrtorahroc.weebly.com/ner-tamid/vayeira

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