Last night I was witness to an inspiring event. Nearly 100,000 people gathered in a large sports arena to witness feats of talent, hard work, and accomplishment. The spectators were riveted, and emerged with stories for the generations. No, I didn’t fly to London for the 2012 summer games, although we will have more on that next week. I was at the Siyum Hashas at Metlife Stadium in Secaucus, New Jersey.
So what does all this have to do with feet, toes and NYC podiatry? Well, very little. Life is about balance – between work, family, health, and personal growth. And as part of that equation, I am a participant in the cycle of Talmud study known as the Daf Yomi, which in Hebrew means “a page a day”. The Talmud is Judaism’s big book of knowledge – 2711 pages to be exact- containing information on the laws of daily living, business, agriculture, spirituality, stories, life advice, and general knowledge of just about every subject including math, science, medicine, history, psychology, and much more. It’s based on an oral tradition handed down over thousands of years, and codified in Babylonia over 1,500 years ago, with debates and comments on the text that continue until this very day. A page a day is a very respectable pace considering that the text is written in Aramaic, lacks punctuation, and reads like an ancient legal textbook. But the rewards for the study are both intangible and immeasurable and it has sustained and kindled Jewish culture for centuries.
Last night’s event celebrated not just the completion of the twelfth cycle of daily study; it was a celebration of the beginning of a new cycle. It also was an embrace of unity, scholarship, growth and adherence to tradition. Committing to the daily study means finishing the page even at the end of a busy day of foot surgery, or waking up before sunrise to steal a few lines of study. It also means that tomorrow will be even better than today, and it will be a day of more knowledge and growth. And all those who attended, as well as tens of thousands more who participated via satellite all over the world are united in their committment to growth, knowledge, and devotion to each other and a great cause. And for me personally, this committment affects so many other areas of life including family and career, inspiring me to be a better father, doctor and person.
Of course we all have our hobbies and passions. It only takes a committment to see that accomplishment arrives one day at a time.
See you in the office.
Ernest L. Isaacson, DPM