After having seen a poll on ou.org about things one would like to work on or improve upon for this coming year around the holidays last month, I began to see something religious where I had not before. There was a list including paying attention to what one was saying when they are davening (having kevanah), learning more, and other such "religious" activities - all of which, btw, I tend to try to do and work on, but they didn't strike me so personally. The thing is, I am in a yeshiva throughout the day and Jewishness surrounds me, so I'm ever mindful of these things, so to do more on them seems kind of meaningless to me. However, the one option on the list that *seemed* kind of out of place was exercising more (!).
It struck me so glaringly, perhaps because it was something that really involves one's physical effort, as well as mental, but a heavy focus on the physical. Although I've generally been mindful over the years - at least since 1998 - about exercising, pretty much mainly jogging, with lifting weights here and there, I thought attaching a religious aspect would be helpful. Although last year after I would finish jogging, I would offer up a little prayer, this helps me put my actions into a religious context.
Unfortunately I haven't really developed this concept really philosphically, yet, but I kind of want to attach it to קרבנות (offerings). One may say, "But what about תפילה (prayer)? Didn't the rabbis replace the Temple service with prayer?" To that I would respond, "It's very likely as the rabbis did so (see Berakhos 26b)," but that doesn't mean I can't also do this due to this. Ultimately, upon trying to figure it out more, I may actually further develop it, drop it altogether, or leave it kind of hanging (whatever that means).
I came up with this posting after coming off of a lazy week last week in which I jogged only once and didn't lift weights at all (shame on me - I know). This week I already lifted weights yesterday and jogged both yesterday and today. Plus, after my one month membership ended, I signed up yesterday for a year's membership at J's Big Gym, here in the Heights.