On Sunday evening, February 7, Chazaq and TorahAnytime live-streamed Halftime for Torah at the halftime of the Super Bowl. The four inspiring speakers used football analogies to share beautiful Torah principles and ideas.
Charlie Harary, well-known speaker, began with stating: “Football is an incredible sport. Sports can be a mashal for life.” He explained that it’s not about the ball. It’s about the strategies and ideas. The men playing in the Super Bowl are professionals. To get where they are, they do things conceptually right. “Watching people of excellence gives us lessons for life.”
The reason the Super Bowl is important is because of its challenge. It took an enormous amount to get there. It’s the culmination of the season. Every catch and every miss is important. “The greater the challenge, the greater the reward.” Many times, we may shy away from challenge. In our careers, our spirituality, we say we are comfortable where we are. “You can’t hold up a trophy in life if you are not willing to do things that are uncomfortable and if they aren’t willing to fail.”
Each of us has the ability to become professional in our lives, but we have to be willing to be uncomfortable to reach greatness. “The only way to achieve greatness is to stare down challenge.” He added that “coaches lives one play at a time. They don’t know what is going to happen.”
Next, Rabbi Gavriel Friedman, well-known speaker, shared, “Look how much work the players put into it. They put in so much time and effort. Are we being ameil baTorah? Do we put in the amount of work in our avodas Hashem that they put into football?” They use every moment to work on their game and nothing can stop them. “Are we living life in a way that nothing can stop us? If we really want it, then nothing can stop us.”
The Chofetz Chaim posed the question of why earlier generations had so much wisdom and why has this been weakened over time. Why aren’t we on the level of generations before us? He answered that Hashem gives wisdom to people in proportion to how much they prepare to receive it. Some people just try harder. In T’hilim it says, “I am the Lord, your G-d. I brought you out of Egypt. Open your mouth and I will fill it up.” As much as we open our mouth is how much Hashem will fill it. “We need to prepare ourselves and then Hashem will give to us.
We have moments we can grab to study Torah. In 120 years, we will be asked if we set aside time for Torah, but the Hebrew word for set aside means “steal.” “Did you grab every moment for Torah?” He added that we have the potential to get so close to Hashem.
Following this, Rabbi YY Jacobson, well-known speaker, stated, “Notice every single move, every breath of every player is thought about, observed, examined, scrutinized, and analyzed. Some moves are analyzed decades later.”
He shared that this reminds him of a fantastic midrash in the Book of Ruth. There are three people in Tanach who said that if they had known that this is what would be written about them, they would have done so much more. Reuven said, “Let’s throw Yosef into a pit,” as he had the intention of saving him later. He would have put Yosef on his shoulders and carried him to his father, had he known. Aharon rejoiced when he learned of Moshe’s new position. He would have come out with tambourines and drums. If Boaz had known that Tanach recorded that he gave Rus grain, he would have given her the greatest delicacies.
The Chidushei HaRim teaches that the midrash is saying that if these three people had known that G-d took note of their gestures and enshrined them for all eternity in the Torah, they would have done these acts with more gusto and passion.
Living thousands of years later, we understand that a video records every move of the Super Bowl players. “Every act, word, and thought of ours is noted and celebrated by the Author of reality.”
The Ribbono shel Olam stands over each of us, cheering us on. Hashem is saying, “I can’t wait to see your next action or word.”
Rabbi Jacobson emphasized, “Everything we do has impact on the past, present, and future. We will understand potency and passion. We should invest our actions and words with the idea that we can change the world.
Next, Rabbi Yoel Gold, well-known speaker, shared a story that happened to the singer, Shloime Dachs, and how his actions inspired someone to take on the mitzvah of tz’dakah. “How we treat others inspires everyone.” He shared that the line in T’hilim, “I will sing to Hashem,” means the way I live my life and the choices I make and the way I treat others is the harmony of song. “We have an audience that includes our family, our neighbors, our community. We want to inspire them to want to emulate us.
These inspiring speeches can be viewed on www.TorahAnytime.com.
By Susie Garber