Have you ever read a book and had a feeling it would really change your life? Well, last week, I finished “Essentialism” by Greg McKeown, and had that exact feeling. In exploring how to live according to our essential values, I was really struck with how McKeown described strategies for taking care of ourselves: “protecting the asset.”
McKeown’s argument, which I agree with, is that in order to be at our very best, we have to protect and take care of our body, mind, and spirit. Taking care of ourselves is at the core of success.
In this week’s Torah portion, Va-et’chanan, we receive a similar instruction from Moses:
“But take utmost care and watch yourselves scrupulously, so that you do not forget the things that you saw with your own eyes and so that they do not fade from your mind as long as you live.” – Deuteronomy 4:9
This portion comes as the Israelites are close to entering the Promised Land and later on, we read two key passages of Judaism – the Ten Commandments and the Sh’ma. In other words, right before laying down some of the most important words in Judaism, what does Moses tell the Israelites to do? Practice self-care. Because we can only succeed and thrive when we take care of ourselves.
Fast forward to 2019, we would all benefit if we took on this mentality. Isn’t it ironic that in some of our most stressful moments – moving apartments, starting a new job, navigating family challenges – that we take care of ourselves the least? Those tough moments are exactly when we need to actually sleep, spend time outside, journal, exercise, or whatever else brings us joy. We have to protect our most valuable asset in life – ourselves.
About the Author: Evan Traylor, originally from Oklahoma City, currently works at the Union for Reform Judaism and is an aspiring rabbi. He graduated from the University of Kansas in 2016 studying political science and Jewish studies. Evan loves reading, traveling, exploring DC, and cheering on the KU Jayhawks.
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