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Rabbi Yossi's Blog

Welcome to Rabbi Yossi's Blog; where you can expect to find thoughts on current events, Torah learning and Jewish spirituality. And of course, some good Jewish humor.

Soccer? Football?

How has your week been? On my end the week has flown by (and not only because we flew back from New York…), I hope things are well with you and your family.

If you live in the United States, you may not have heard about it (although they say it’s a growing sport in the US) but the world is currently preoccupied with the World Cup. Soccer, or as they call it in other parts of the world - football, is the focus of everyone’s attention. Anywhere between 250 Million – 1 Billion people watch the World Cup final!

The founder of Chassidism, the Ba’al Shem Tov, would say “Every single thing that a person sees or hears, is an instruction to him in his conduct in the service of G‑d”. What lesson can we learn from soccer?

There are many I’m sure, here’s one that I found most inspiring: the aim of the game is to score a goal (or many goals). This is simple enough; the goal is a fairly large rectangular net at the end of an open field. You can approach as close as you wish to the goal and the ball that is being used is a size that’s easy to handle.

What’s the catch?

The other team. There are other players who do all they can to stop you from scoring. They will use every ounce of strength and any tactic to disrupt your ability to score.

How do you respond when challenged by the other team? You respond by digging deeper and finding more energy, trying new moves, new tactics. You will make an extra effort to win the game. This response is only brought out when you are faced with an opposing team.

Our life is like a game of soccer. We have goals that we aim for and inevitably we are faced with challenges. Sometimes from within, we doubt our capability to achieve; sometimes from without, other forces try to pull us down and distract us.

The purpose of the challenges is to awaken within us a deeper, hidden potential. Don’t lose focus by the challenges that you face – look them square in the eye and find the power to overcome them. You have it within you all you need to do is let it come out.

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Please share with me your thoughts and feedback; I look forward to hearing from you!

Can you perform miracles?

Can you perform miracles?

I think you can. I mean it. Seriously. A real miracle. Does that sound a little far-fetched? Let me tell you a story:

A group of students once visited the Lubavitcher Rebbe, they had prepared questions on a whole range of topics and the Rebbe answered each of their questions. Toward the end of the meeting one student asked “They say that Rebbe can perform miracles, is this true? Does the Rebbe really  have supernatural powers?”

The Rebbe answered “We each posses a soul that is a spark of G-d, therefore we all have the power to transcend the limitations of this physical world.”

“And now,” continued the Rebbe “I will perform a miracle.”

“Each one of you will now commit to improve yourself in one particular area. You will choose something that you have previously realized must be fixed but you have deemed it too difficult and ‘out of your reach’. Still, you will persist and you will succeed thereby proving that you can actually overcome the limitations of the natural order and perform a miracle”.

This Tuesday is the 3rd of Tammuz which marks the anniversary of the Rebbe’s passing. Although physically distant, the Rebbe’s influence is as strong as ever, perhaps more so than before. In honor of this occasion let us each perform a miracle in our own life. You can do it!

Perform a miracle today.

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I am currently in New York attending a conference, visiting family and participating in the 3rd of Tammuz activities. I will be praying at the Rebbe’s resting place and would be honored to include a prayer for you and your family. Please send me an email with your Jewish name and your mother’s Jewish name (and the names of anyone else that you would like to include) and I will make sure to include you in my prayers.

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