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. Although Max resigned from 1050 more than a year ago (he has recently resurfaced on ESPN Radio in Los Angeles), I have tried to continue the tradition of linking sports to Torah which I believe was an undercurrent of the Max Kellerman show.
Today I caught a story on Yahoo's Big League Stew Blog about Joel Torres, a former Cleveland Indian farmhand who was released by the Indians in March. During his brief stint in the Indians' farm system, the twenty-one year old Torres played in two seasons with the Indians Arizona Fall League affiliate. However, in late March, the Indians decided to sever ties with Torres.
While the release of a minor league ballplayer is hardly newsworthy, there was a reason that Big League Stew decided to feature the story on the blog. In February, Torres was visiting his mother in Queens and purchased a Sweet Millions lottery ticket. The "golden" ticket yielded a one million dollar prize, which Torres cashed soon after his release from the Indians. When interviewed by a local paper, Torres said that he would use the money to buy his mother a house and to finance another try at minor league baseball. (To see the full story click here -http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/blog/big_league_stew/post/Just-released-Indians-prospect-cashes-1-million?urn=mlb-wp2974).
While Torres' positive attitude and thoughtfulness is newsworthy, the story struck me from a different angle. There is a common Torah theme that Hashem provides the medicine before He allows the punishment to occur (aka He gives the refuah before the makah). A classic example is the gift of the land of Goshen. The Medrash teaches that after Pharaoh realized that he had erred in taking Sarah from Avraham, he gave Sarah the land of Goshen as a present. Many generations later, the Jews were living in Egypt as slaves to Pharaoh. However, the Jews did not live in Egypt as they resided in Goshen. This allowed them to continue their separate national identity and not change their names, language and manner of dress. A chief factor which enabled the Jews to keep their identity was that they did not reside in Egypt and instead dwelled in their own land - Goshen.
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