Move!

Judaism begins in walking. God tells Abraham to “lech,” go, and he and Sarah walk for many miles to the land that will be Israel. Jewish law is called halachah, which means walking. Angels are sometimes referred to as omdim, those who stand, as opposed to human beings, who walk.

Motion is life and change and growth. Movement of the body aids movement of the mind. An angel tells the depressed and motionless Elijah to walk back to the people, Miriam dances in joy at the sea, and Isaac, when he first sees his beloved Rebeka, is wandering in the field.

The onset of the pandemic has made movement more difficult for most of us. Nonetheless constant sitting is unhealthy for both the body and the spirit. When we are in mourning, we sit shiva; when the period is over it is traditional to walk around the block. Movement returns us to life. We do not sit in God’s ways, but “walk in My ways” (Lev. 26:3). The Psalmist advises, “Let them praise God’s name with dancing” (149:3). Walk and run and dance. If you are blessed enough to have limbs that can move, move!

About the Author
Named the most influential Rabbi in America by Newsweek Magazine and one of the 50 most influential Jews in the world by the Jerusalem Post, David Wolpe is the Rabbi of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, California.
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