Monday, January 11, 2010

The Difference

Although, technically speaking, my job involves teaching Jewish texts; I see it as so much more. My students often make the claim that there is no reason to learn the texts in the original Hebrew or Aramaic being that that they can use the readily available English translations. “What’s the difference Rabbi?” they ask.

As with most of the country, it has been cold where I live. Not just cold, painfully cold. As such, I have been running, if I can use that term for an action that involves staying in place, on the treadmill. It seems like no big deal. After all, other than the lack of downhills, the treadmill does a pretty good job of replicating the exercise experience of running. Again, what’s the difference?

I discovered the difference on Friday when I convinced myself to go for a real run. Yes, it was cold, but it felt so good to get out there and breathe fresh cool air. Good to leave the artificial cocoon in which I had ensconced myself. Good to leave the regulated temperature and ESPN behind. Instead of listening to weight machines clanging in the background, I heard the ducks as I ran around the lake. Instead of staring at the TV screen, I glimpsed the clear blue sky. It was real. I felt alive.

I can’t say that it changed me for good. It was colder yesterday and I was back on the treadmill. I know that if I didn’t have membership at the Y, I would have no choice but to run outside everyday, as not running is not an option. For now, at least, I know the difference.
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  1. The TM can be a transitional, necessary "evil" of winter running, but you seem to grasp that it is a poor substitute for the real thing. Nice parallel with the teaching of Hebrew texts.

    Make yourself a deal that you'll run outside whenever it's more than X degrees. Then, run outside when it's just a little bit colder than that. ;-)