Insights

Physical and Spiritual Constriction

I can’t believe that it’s been seven weeks since my surgery. I felt triumphant going back to the hospital after everything that’s transpired between physical therapy and chemotherapy.

It’s absolutely amazing how quickly life can feel like it’s going in a totally different direction. However, it is important to remember that this is still “the direction.” If you’re in a rowboat and the current is shoving you to the left instead of right, or right instead of left, it doesn’t mean you’re going the wrong way. Sometimes it is the absolute best to just pull your oars back in the boat and let the current take you. Resisting the direction could lead to capsizing – and I would rather be in a shaky boat than swimming for my life to try and climb back in.

Resisting also leads to stressing. The grind between being here and not there, or feeling that you have this and not that can create all sorts of tension. Some semblance of stress and anxiety are a part of life. We’re human. But, it’s important not to let it consume you and know how manage it in a healthy way. This can be physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually.

I recalled a comment when I had dinner with my Rabbi, Rav Binny Freedman (Rosh Yeshiva at Orayta in the Old City of Jerusalem), back in November after surgery. He made an off-the-cuff comment about it being interesting, to maybe one-day discuss, what the left arm represents in Kaballah (Jewish mysticism). The left arm is gevura (might) – restraint – holding back – restriction etc. It was a classic Rav Binny comment for anyone who knows him. It’s almost like a “click-bait” headline to learn more. Nonetheless, it sparked my interest.

According to Chabad, Gevura (lit. “might”) is the second of the seven Divine middot, or attributes, associated with the holding back of Divine revelation and restricting the dispersion of Divine light to lower levels of existence.

Flipping back to the physical world, Johns Hopkins also has an interesting description of TOS. “The thoracic outlet is a bony ring formed by the topmost ribs, just below the collarbone. Threading through the thoracic outlet, from inside the ribcage, is a bundle of nerves, veins and arteries that serve the shoulder and arm. Thoracic outlet syndrome occurs when those nerves or blood vessels become compressed, leading to pain, numbness and circulation issues.”

There are such an infinite amount of things that go on in our world and I believe that the nominal level of hints we are able to perceive allow us to increase in our gratitude and awe of Gd’s running of this world. We will never truly know who, what, where, when or why things happen in this world the way they do. To claim that we know would be some extreme arrogance. What I do think, is that the above is some interesting food for thought after a little bit of reflecting.

Maybe I’m a nerd about it, but I love finding these kinds of connections and attributing a positive meaning.

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