Practical Judaism – Vayetze

“Sleep, especially deep sleep, is like a balm for the brain,” says Dr. Joshi, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford.

“The better your sleep, the more clearly you can think while awake, and it may enable you to seek help when a problem arises. You have your faculties with you. You may think, ‘I have 16 things to do, but I know where to start.’

Sleep deprivation can make it hard to remember what you need to do for your busy… life. It takes away the support, the infrastructure.”

Sleep is believed to help regulate emotions and its deprivation is an underlying component of many mood disorders, such as anxiety, [etc].”

“Jacob came upon a certain place and stopped there for the night, for the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of that place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place.”

-Genesis 28:11

Welcome to the new season of the ‘Raising Holy Sparks’ podcast. This year, we will be focusing on Jewish concepts and will be experimenting with ways to take them out of the theoretical and turn them into the practical.

In this week’s Torah portion of Vayetze, Jacob is exhausted from being on the run from his brother Esau after getting his blessing through deceptive means.

He finds himself at a random location, later Jewish thinkers say that it is Jerusalem. The same commentators say that God made the sun set early so that Jacob would stop, rest, and spend the night there.

Jacob was so ill-prepared for his moment of pause that he ends up using rocks as pillows.

As a result of finally having a moment to recharge his batteries, he has a dream of angels going up and down. A metaphor for the highs and lows of life.

He realizes that although he may currently be in one of those “down moments”, there will eventually be another “up moment”.

From this place, he continues on his way and ends up finding Rachel, his soon to be bride.

She is in need of some water but the well is blocked by a boulder. Rejuvinated and recharged, Jacob helps roll the boulder off the well. And Rachel is smitten.

The Stanford Sleep Medicine Clinic has found that increased sleep can not only improve our ability to deal with emotions but it also helps improve athletic movement.

Stanford Basketball players then went from 6.5 to 8.5 hours of sleep, improved their free-throw and 3-point shooting by approx 13%.

Sometimes it feels like we can’t afford to go to sleep early. But, really, we can’t afford NOT to.

This week’s intentional action (kavanah) that I offer forward:
-Go to sleep earlier than usual
-Make sure it is nice/dark
-Phone on airplane mode
-Sleep tight!

Thanks for listening and looking forward to being on this journey through the books of the Torah with you!

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