By Rabbi Daniel Lapin
January 1, 2012
Want to lose weight? Me too. And so did 84 female housekeepers in seven different hotels who typically clean fifteen rooms a day. They were measured for physiological health variables affected by exercise and then two Harvard University psychologists informed half the women (untruthfully) that their daily work alone constituted enough exercise to make them lose weight and keep healthy.
In 2007, Psychological Science reported that those in the informed group lost weight, lowered their blood pressure, and had significantly healthier body-fat percentage, body mass index, and waist-to-hip ratio while the others had no changes.
What you believe can make your body do amazing things.
Making resolutions is easier than keeping them but how do we increase the likelihood of keeping them all year and really achieving meaningful results? There is much useful advice to be found, but here is one spiritual key to keeping your New Year resolutions.
Generally, when are you most likely to keep your word? Often, the answer depends on how much you value the person to whom you make the promise.
For example, if you assure your college roommate that you’ll stop leaving your clothing lying around the dorm you might occasionally forget to keep your word. Your roommate is, after all, just your roommate. However, if you assure your boss, who has put your job on the line, that you’ll make ten sales calls each day, you might just keep your word.
A resolution is making a promise to yourself. If in January you promise yourself, say, to stop smoking, keeping your resolution will depend upon how important and worthy you think you are.
It is also helpful to recognize that abandoning a resolution is a sin. Just as not keeping your word to others is a sin, so is not keeping your word to yourself.
Now examine these five verses. The word inside the [parentheses] is the Hebrew.
[ki] a person will sin… (Leviticus 4:1)
2) If [im] the anointed kohen [priest] will sin… (Leviticus 4:3)
3) If [im] the entire congregation of Israel will err… (Leviticus 4:13)
4) When [asher] a ruler sins… (Leviticus 4:22)
5) If [im] one individual from among the people of the land will sin… (Leviticus 4:27)
Significantly, in one chapter describing the same action, three different Hebrew words are used for ‘when’ or ‘if’. Ancient Jewish wisdom teaches that the three Hebrew words used above imply different levels of probability.
asher means it will almost definitely happen.
• ki means it will probably happen.
• im means it might but probably not.
Verse 1) acknowledges that an ordinary person by himself will probably sin.
Verse 2) declares that a special priest probably won’t.
Verse 3) tells that everyone in a group will probably not all commit the same sin at the same time.
Verse 4) reminds us that a ruler has many temptations and will surely sin.
Verse 5) gives us an amazing insight. It seems to be speaking about an individual, just like the first verse we saw. But a different word is used, implying that this time the individual has a smaller chance of sinning. By seeing himself as a worthy part of a group that includes remarkable people like anointed priests and rulers, he is more likely to weigh his actions carefully.
God wants us to feel morally worthy and even holy. One result of doing so is that we take our commitments more seriously.
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We can elevate our sense of self-worth by recognizing our role as a child of God. Couple personal resolutions with others resolutions like a commitment to pray regularly, give more charity or study more Scripture. Those activities remind you that you are a morally worthy and significant human being; we all tend to keep our words to such people.
What we believe can make our bodies do amazing things.
As we start 2012, let’s strive to recognize everyone’s value, including our own, as children of God. Each of the five audio CDs in the Biblical Blueprint Set, which remains on sale through Sunday, provides insights on how to more successfully relate to others—and to ourselves.
© 2012 Rabbi Daniel Lapin - All Rights Reserved
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Rabbi Daniel Lapin, known world-wide as America's Rabbi, is a noted rabbinic scholar, best-selling author and host of the Rabbi Daniel Lapin Show on San Francisco’s KSFO. He is one of America’s most eloquent speakers and his ability to extract life principles from the Bible and transmit them in an entertaining manner has brought countless numbers of Jews and Christians closer to their respective faiths. In 2007 Newsweek magazine included him in its list of America’s fifty most influential rabbis.
You can contact Rabbi Daniel Lapin through his website.
Web Site: www.rabbidaniellapin.com