Jerusalem, Israel - Sept. 3, 2023 - When asked to review a new book that sounded of interest to BJL readers, I never expected it to have so many Baltimore connections, too many to mention them all. The book opens with a letter by Shearith Israel Congregation's esteemed ruv and President of Baltimore's Vaad HaRabbanim, Rabbi Yaakov Hopfer. Then, the book is dedicated to Baltimore legends Leo and Hannah Storch a"h. Furthermore, the list of Baltimore donors and professionals involved is extensive.
In response to the worldwide epidemics of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and other preventable conditions, Baltimore's Rabbi Alexander Seinfeld and Doctor Daniel Grove invested 10 years in preparing Body and Soul: The Torah Path to Health, Fitness, And A Holy Life. Jewish tradition has thousands of years of wisdom on the subject of health, but until now it has been scattered across many books from various centuries and cultures, with many never translated into English.
Over 60 Torah sources are included bridging the gap between traditional Jewish teachings and modern research. Jewish sources have always called on Jews to guard our health, and the authors have quoted from Torah giants throughout the 475 pages. The Medical Advisory Board fills a page with prominent professional names especially familiar to the Baltimore community.
There is a Glossary for those not familiar with the transliterated Hebrew and Yiddish expressions. Summaries follow each of the 25 Chapters, starting with - 'The purpose of life is to realize one's betselem Elokim. Controlling our eating epitomizes the concept of mitzvah."
"Excess sugar runs contrary to Torah spirituality" follows the chapter "Sugar in the Torah and in Nutrition." "The 70 Faces of Sugar" lists what to look for in the ingredients of prepared foods. I had to look up some of the names on the list I was not familiar with previously.
There are 242 Endnotes leading to published research supporting the medical claims. For the Jewish consumer, the food calorie guide is especially valuable with information. Under the letter G for example, gefilte fish and goulash are included along with grape juice, and with General Tso's Chicken and Gyro Sandwich.
The book is filled with advice on what to eat and exercise and much more information to help you get and stay healthy.
We are approaching the holiday season with many Yom Tov meals. A good start in meal planning would be the chart for Shabbos meals pages 113-115. Here the reader is to fill in consumption, starting with 1 cup of wine or grape juice at 100 calories during dinner, at morning Kiddush with one bowl of chulent with potatoes at 500 calories, lunch, shalosh seudos and melavah malkah. Do the math---it all adds up to way more calories than needed.
Cut out as much sugar as possible in food and drinks, eat more vegetables, less cake and fat, and smaller portions. Exercise. This unique, comprehensive, user-friendly book will guide readers from a Torah perspective.
About the Authors
Rabbi Alexander Seinfeld, Ph.D. heads Jewish Spiritual Literacy, Inc. (JSLI), a non-profit organization dedicated to revitalizing Jewish education. His previous books include The Art of Amazement: Discover Judaism’s Forgotten Spirituality and The Art of Kavana.
Dr. Daniel Grove, MD, is board-certified in general internal medicine, critical care, and pulmonology and is affiliated with MedStar Health hospitals in the Baltimore-Washington region. He is the author of The Weight Loss Counter-Revolution.
Body and Soul: The Torah Path to Health, Fitness, And A Holy Life Publisher: JSLI Press -Feldheim, Pub. Date: June 1, 2023, 512 pgs., Price: $24.99 ISBN: 9781680259155