15 Iyar 5763
***Mitzvos: They Do a Body Good!***
–V’nishmartem Ma’od L’nafshosachem is a mitzvah that obligates us to take care of our health.
–During the month of Iyar, there are two minhagim that relate to this important mitzvah.
1. Time to Work on Those Marvelous Midos
Studying Pirkei Avos on each Shabbos between Pesach and Shavuos
• The Siddur Torah Ohr cites that in ancient times, the weeks after Pesach were the most popular time to perform Hakazas Hadam (therapeutic bloodletting).
• Chazal explain that since this period is beneficial for physical health, so, too with spiritual growth. And what better way to grow spiritually than by learning Pirkei Avos?!
2. Starve the Body, Feed the Soul
The fasts of Behab that occur every year during Iyar (and Cheshvan).
• Rav Chaim Schmelczer zt”l , my Rosh Hayeshiva in Telshe-Chicago, once explained that during the months of Iyar and Cheshvan, the weather changes and the risk of illness increases.
• During the seasonal change Chazal established these fast days as a Kapara (atonement) for Klal Yisroel and a z’chus for our health and well-being.
• Accordingly, in one of the s’lichos of Behab we ask Hashem to answer our tefillos on behalf of children suffering from illness.