Although I’m a Yankees fan, I found no small measure of satisfaction in watching the Chicago Cubs win a nail biter of a World Series Game 7 last night. And although I originally intended to only include a personal note in the E-Torah once a month, I think this calls for an exception.
As a rabbi it is my job to connect current events to Torah and Jewish life. So here are two thoughts about the Cubs’ victory that can apply to everyone.
We keep hearing about how the last time the Cubs won it all was 108 years ago. But it doesn’t take a genius to realize that almost nothing about the ball club today is the same as it was back then. Not the players or the coaches, nor the owners or the fans. Not to mention the billy goat. Nevertheless, “we have been waiting for this for 108 years” is still a relevant emotion, because, well, it’s true.
A similar sentiment is often used to describe the Jewish people’s relationship to the Torah. Yes, none of us were actually present at Mt. Sinai when the Jewish people became a nation and we weren’t the ones to hear G-d’s voice giving the Ten Commandments, but still we were all there. Our souls, together with the souls of Jews from all times, were there and accepted the Torah. And this intrinsic connection that we have with G-d and to one another has kept the Jewish spark alive for more than three thousand years, almost like Cubs fans throughout the last century.
My second thought is about the wait. For 108 years Cubs fans and baseball enthusiasts have been waiting for this title, which finally came. On a larger scale, the Jewish people have been waiting for the coming of Moshiach with the ultimate redemption and return to Israel for two millennia. And we too still believe and will never give up hope.
But that’s where the similarities end: Unlike watching a baseball game—whether from the stands or on the couch—where the fan can do nothing but hope and bite his nails, there actually IS something we can do bring Moshiach. Every time a Jew does a mitzvah and performs an act of kindness, he or she truly does accomplish something to this end. With each mitzvah we bring Moshiach closer, ending the wait and ushering in the long overdue redemption.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Feel free to comment on my blog.
Rabbi Eliezer Zalmanov