During my senior year of college, I was presented with an inspiring opportunity to fulfill an oft-spoken-of mitzvah that we rarely have firsthand experience with: pikuach nefesh, saving a life. I was contacted by the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Registry and told I was a potential match for someone in need of a bone marrow transplant.
A tale is told of a well-known 17th-century Chasidic rabbi named Zusya, who, when he died, went to stand before the judgment seat of God. As he waited for God to appear, he grew nervous thinking about his life and how little he had done.
"Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world." -Jerusalem Talmud, Sanhedrin 4:1 (22a)
I race bicycles. I started in 1979. I got pretty good, fast enough to earn my way to category II status, just below the pool from which USA Cycling draws the National and Olympic teams. Along the way, I competed against some truly world-class racers and became friends with a few of them.
I’ve been interested in meditation since college. The attraction began with a notion that I could achieve “inner peace,” though I’ve since come to realize the key is to focus on increasing awareness of my experience in the present moment – with whatever thoughts and feelings may arise.
It was hours before I would step on the bimah and conduct the Erev Rosh HaShanah service. As the nation was reeling from the cataclysmic events of 9/11, I lay upon the examination table of the cancer ward. Was it just weeks earlier that life was normal?
Many people mistakenly believe that keeping kosher is linked to healthy eating. Clearly, these people have never experienced highly processed, fat-filled delights like kosher chicken nuggets or Bamba.