"From Moshe till Moshe, there arose none like Moshe." (famous Jewish folk saying)

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Does G-d Play Baseball? This may not be what you think it is.

When I was in Yeshiva, I recall clearly the day our rebbe, told us of how G-d continues his active role in world events. G-d did not create the world in 6 days and then go on vacation. He created the world continues to be a part of every nuance in the universe. “Behind every blade of grass there is an angel," he would say. "And if you had the right type of telescope.” (yes, he did mean microscope, we all laughed) he continued, “you would be able to see them.” Behind every blade of grass, Wow, that’s a lot of angles. I used to get nervous mowing the lawn. (apologies for the stream on conciseness) But anyway, today across the globe, many newspaper headlines proclaim, “Red Sox fans prayers finally answered.” This bothers me. No it’s not that we shouldn’t have prayed for the sox to win. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. Actually, I think many of us are bothered when we hear of an athlete who accepts too much credit for his talents and not give credit to the One Above, who gave him his/her skills and abilities. If the players recognize it, we can certainly pray for it. So then what bothers me? When I was growing up in our small town, the rabbi would often speak of people who would complain to him, “Rabbi, I prayed to G-d and G-d did not answer my prayers.” To this the rabbi would wisely respond, “That G-d always answers prayers, sometimes though, he gives us an answerer we don’t want and sometimes he says no.” To say that our prayers were finally answered, implies that they were not answered. For the last 86 years, our prayers have been answered; we just did not get the answer we wanted.

3 years ago, in October I came to Israel for business purposes. I also came to scout out some communities where we could live and opportunities for work prior to our aliya. Our trip was scheduled at the height of the intafada and there were unfortunately peguim, bus bombings, and sniper attacks on a frequent basis. It was terrible. My children (who at the time were 12, 10 and 9) were concerned about my safety. They listen to the news, understand and knew that going to Israel meant being in the place where all this was happening. They were scared. (They don’t feel at all scared living here now) Before I left, I told the children I would be going to the Kotel, the Western Wall and they could write a prayer on a piece of paper and I would put the paper in the Kotel. This is a tradition that goes back 100’s of years. They could in essence, write a letter to G-d. They each took a paper, pen and began to commit their personal prayers to print. When they were finished, I put them in my talis bag so I would not forget them.

Many hours and 6,000 miles later, I found myself standing in awesome Kotel plaza. A place unlike any other place on earth. A place replete with incredible history and palpable spirituality. After the vatikin (sunrise) minyan I made my way to the wall to say my own personal prayer and deliver the messages to G-d from my children. As I was about to put their kapitlach/messages in the wall, I suddenly had the urge to read what they had written. (I though for a second about invasion of privacy but that was about it) I wanted to know what do our kids think about, what do they pray for. How do they feel G-d plays a role in their lives, something my wife tries to impresses upon them each day. My girl’s kapitlach were beautiful.
“Please HaShem, let my Abba have a safe trip, let our family have a successful aliya. Help me to make new friends, let everyone in the family be healthy.”
My son kapitlach was equally impressive. “Please HaShem, let Abba have a safe trip, let our family have a successful aliya, help me to do well in my new school, help Abba find a job,” and then he concluded, “and if you can, please help the Red Sox win the world series.” I almost passed out. I’m not sure if it was because a sox victory was something he prayed for, or if it was how he wrote, “if you can.” At 12 years old my son understood that HaShem plays a role in world events, from the mundane to the sublime. What nachas! I delivered their messages and left the Kotel, deeply moved and inspired from the place and from this personal experience.

But the Sox lost the following year in the traditional anguishing fashion. Did HaShem not answer his prayers? Did He ignore the honest, sincere and passionate prayers of my 12-year-old son? My explanation to my tearful son was, HaShem absolutely answered your prayers! G-d always answers our prayers. But His answer must have been, there is always next year.

So this is next year! And the Sox won in a fashion that can only be explained by nothing less than Divine intervention. There really were angles in the outfield and this year they played for the red sox!

So many things happen in our lives and in the world today that are way beyond explanation and our limited human comprehension. That HaShem controls the world is obvious to some and questioned by others. It is not 86 years of baseball history that reveals this! Life itself reveals this each and every day. Why have we struggled for so many years, why the long wait? Do these questions sound like they have been asked before? Could these same questions and pleas apply to something else we have been yearning for? Have we not been yearning for a lot longer than 86 years? Lessons can be taught in very subtle ways. We need to pay attention to the sometimes subtle, sometimes bang over the head lessons that are sent our way. We have to be sure our priorities are in check and that we express and pray with the same enthusiasm for what is really important in life. Mazal Tov to Red Sox Nation! My we take from this, that our prayers are indeed always answered.


Comments:
Wonderful post!

Have a safe trip.

~treppenwitz~
 
Wow ... a great post. I miss you, and look forward, please G-d, to seeing you soon. Love, ~Shimmy~
 
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