[First posted on The Times of Israel: http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/mishpatim-divine-moisturizer/]
Ibn Ezra Exodus: Mishpatim
“You can free yourself from aging by reinterpreting your body and by grasping the link between belief and biology.”-Deepak Chopra
The clock of our doom starts ticking from the moment of our birth. Our genetic program will determine our height, health and longevity. There seems to be little one may do to extend ones natural lifespan, while there is no lack of factors that will shorten our lives.
Ibn Ezra (on Exodus 23:26) rejects such deterministic views. He claims and provides a physical explanation as to how a person can extend the life they were born to have.
He states that a body will live as long as it has internal heat and moisture. Once the heat and moisture run out, the body dies. Artificial additions of these physical measures will not help. But there is one thing that can: cleaving to God. The metaphysical dynamics are as follows: Attaching oneself to God increases the “heat” and “moisture” of the spirit. The “heat” and “moisture” of the spirit are then converted into real heat and moisture in our bodies that will prolong physical biological life beyond its original program. A cold, dry spirit withers. A warm, fluid soul flourishes.
Ibn Ezra states further that not only will clinging to God extend ones natural life, but it can also safeguard a person from accidents and epidemics that may curtail life.
I’m willing to work on it…
To the memory of Seymour Hirschfield, father of our friend and neighbor Zvi (Hal) Hirschfield.