In the Talmud, the rabbis pose a question about what is more important: the work of study or the work of action. After a classic Talmudic game of ping pong, the rabbis decide that study is more important because it can lead to action. Although at first glance, this Talmudic passage of a group of men pontificating about life may seem like a story of leisure, in reality, the rabbis were hiding in an attic during the time of a Roman siege. And this decision of whether to act or not wasn’t theoretical. It was actually one of life or death.
On October 7th, 2023, the Jewish people were under another siege by Hamas: one of life and death. And out of unbelievable necessity, people moved into action. The actions ranged from picking up arms to protect civilians to hosting families who lost their home, distributing equipment to soldiers to starting schools in shelters for kids. The country of Israel since the massacre of October 7th is in a perpetual state of action. But what happens when we stop doing? What happens to our bodies, to our hearts and to our minds?