Ask The Rabbi

Running Prayer

The Color of HeavenArtscroll
Topic: Exercise, Bracha After

Michael S. Sultan wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

What would be an appropriate prayer to say upon the completion of exercise (i.e. jogging)? The Shehekianu is the only prayer I could think of. Is there one that is more appropriate? [see Ask the Rabbi #53 re: why don't we make a blessing before exercise. ed.]


Dear Michael S. Sultan,

The Talmud says that someone who lets blood for health reasons should say a special prayer before and after. Before the procedure he should say "May it be Your will, Hashem my G-d, that this procedure have a healing effect, for You are the free healer." Afterwards he should say, "Blessed are You, Who heals the sick."

The purpose of this prayer is to remind a person that it is Hashem who heals, not the medicine. So whether 'letting-blood', taking medicine or undergoing any medical treatment, one should say this prayer.

Similarly, if you jog for health reasons you can say a prayer such as: "It should be the will of Hashem that my exercise help me have good health." But one shouldn't say the version mentioned in the Talmud unless he is actually sick.

I don't know if the following story is true, but I'll let you decide. Kenya's star soccer player used to offer a prayer for victory before every game. When facing Israel in the World Cup elimination matches, however, he didn't offer his usual prayer. When asked why not, he replied, "Well, I don't suppose it would help much seeing as He's on their team."

Sources:

  • Tractate Berachot 60a
  • Chayei Adam, Klal 65:1
  • Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 230:4, Mishna Berura 6

 
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