Chazaq, TorahAnytime, the Queens Jewish Link, and many other sponsors were part of a special half-time Torah learning program on Super Bowl Sunday. The first speaker, Mr. Charlie Harary, well-known inspirational speaker, began with the fact that everyone is looking for ways to be better. “We know we have the potential of being great.” He pointed out that many lessons in football apply to greatness across the board. One idea is to focus on the game and not the score. When Hashem called Moshe up to Har Sinai, the pasuk says, “Come up with Me to the mountains and be there.”
Why did it need to add “and be there”? Where else would he be? Mr. Harary explained that if a parent goes on a business trip, he’s still thinking about his children and what they need. Moshe was the parent of the Jewish people. Hashem was telling him, “You can’t be with the people right now; you have to be all here.” In order to receive the Torah and give it to the rest of humanity, you have to be all there. In life, we don’t always bring our mind fully where we are. This can happen when we’re davening or when we’re doing any other activities where our mind can start to wander. We spend a lot of time physically there but not fully there. “To be great in life, you have to be all in it. Life requires all of you. We need the focus so we can be so much better.”
He then referenced football, where the quarterback is all in. In the Super Bowl, the players are best at focus. “To become the best, you have to be all in. Whatever is in front of you is the most important thing.” He continued, “Life is a game of one-play battles. Look at our lives. When I’m all in and focused on what is in front of me, this will give me more strength, creativity, and resilience.”
The next speaker, Rabbi Eytan Feiner, rav of Congregation Kneseth Israel in Far Rockaway, shared that the most successful Olympian was Michael Phelps. He won 128 medals in the Olympics; 23 of them were gold medals. When asked how he did it, he responded that it comes down to a few seconds or centimeters. He said he won because he wanted it more than the others. “I have a greater drive to make it to the top. I want it more badly than anyone else.”
Rabbi Feiner taught that nothing stands in the way of desire. The Zohar teaches that everything depends on ratzon. “How badly do you want it?” He pointed out that the Hebrew word for his name and for “desire” both have the same g’matria, which means a person’s name is his desire. “Where are you going in life? Who will push himself beyond his limits?”
Rabbi Feiner taught that if you want to come close to Hashem then you will have guaranteed help from Hashem. “Show Hashem that you want it badly enough.” The Super Bowl teaches us the major determining factor: “Do you have the greatest ratzon?” He offered a brachah to the audience that Hashem should send us help to score all our “touchdowns” in our lives.
Next, Rabbi YY Jacobson, well-known inspirational speaker, shared how suspense makes the Super Bowl exciting. It’s the sense of unpredictability that keeps people on the edge of their seats. He taught that, in life, too, our lives are so rich. It’s the sense of surprise and unpredictability that every moment I have the potential to surprise myself and G-d. G-d waits in anticipation to see what His beloved child will choose to do. We can get stuck in a comfort zone and get confined by habits. Then we don’t surprise ourselves anymore. The Kotzker Rebbe taught that you have to have courage to reinvent yourself to transcend your fears and your traumas. You have to have courage to explore a new side of yourself. This is the secret of the Jewish perspective. “Have courage to transcend yourself; Hashem loves it.”
The final speaker, Rabbi Yoel Gold, well-known inspirational speaker, shared a fascinating story about an Israeli soldier that taught a powerful lesson. This soldier had faced many dangerous enemies and wars in Israel. When he was on vacation in Alaska, while fishing in an isolated area, he faced an even more formidable enemy, a grizzly bear. The guide had told him not to run if a bear approaches; instead, speak to the bear and tell him, “This is my fishing place. I belong here.” He followed these instructions and amazingly the bear swam away. The lesson here, said Rabbi Gold, is that humans are above animals. They are created in the image of G-d, and when they act that way and let animals know who they are, then they are protected. When we don’t react and run but stand our ground and remember that we are created in the image of G-d, then we can overcome our struggles.
These short powerful lectures were truly inspiring and they reached so many people around the world. They can be viewed on www.TorahAnytime.com.
By Susie Garber