Monday, October 26, 2009

Monday Musings on Sports - Keeping Faith in your pitchers and others

As regular readers of this blog are aware, the Monday post was usually devoted to sports with highlights and analysis of the Max Kellerman show which formerly aired on 1050 ESPN Radio. As Max has resigned from 1050 and has not yet resurfaced on the NY area radio waves, I have decided to continue the tradition of linking sports to Torah which I believe was an undercurrent of the Max Kellerman show.

While in shul last shabbos I listened (in the hall during kiddush) to a worry wart Yankee fan complain about how Joe Girardi had "cost" the Yankees two games by lifting pitchers too early. He then made reference to the infamous Grady Little move with Pedro Martinez in 2003 and how no one was perfect as Mike Scioscia had lifted John Lackey too early in Game 5 of the ALCS (although the Angels did win that game). Although his point was either that no one's manager is pefect in taking their pitcher's temperature or that Joe Girardi should be fired if the Yankees did not win the ALCS. I am actually still not sure that he did not mean both, but nervous Yankees fans can be that way - either arrogant or pessimistic and sometimes both at the same time.

The conversation about having faith in your pitcher made me think of a vort I heard before shabbos from the Rabbi Frand shiur that I downloaded from the Yad Yechiel website on Friday afternoon (I missed the live Thursday Night shiur as they do not have a broadcast in the Utica area, but that was the topic of yesterday's post). Rabbi Frand asked about Noach - how could he have spent 120 years building the ark and have been mikarev no one? When repeating the vort to my friend R' Yitz R., he mentioned in the name of R' Jonathan Sacks that the parsha does not indicate Noach ever said a word to anyone. If this is the case how could he have succeeded?

R' Frand answered the question by citing to R' Meir Schapiro who opined that Noach did not believe that the people of his generation could be saved and would be willing to do teshuva. This is the reason that Hashem's sign to the world that he would never again flood the earth was the rainbow. After a period of darkness and heavy rain, the clouds break and when the sun hits the water in the air there is a beautiful rainbow. Hashem tells Noach that the people may be dark and the world may be surrounded by terrible darkness, but there is a hope for a bright future as people are not beyond redemption and every person has an internal divine spark which is capable of doing good.

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