“Most people admired Koufax for putting his religion before his job. I’m sure there were others who were furious, saying that he wasn’t that religious — and I don’t think he really was — but that didn’t make any difference. It was his decision and everyone respected it. They understood.” …..Longtime Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully
Each and every year, baseball fan or not, the Sandy Koufax story and what he did as not only a dedicated, amazing, baseball player, he was also Jewish. The Jewish calendar is challenging enough as each year, the Jewish High Holidays, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, land on different days.
Each and every year I have been hearing more and more, “Rabbi, I have to go to work.” No judgement here, each person has their reason’s why and what they need to do when the Jewish High Holidays arrives. For those that know me, I have respected all your choices. So many blessings to have been apart of your extra special life cycle ceremonies and in your life. My heartfelt thanks. You are each a Gift of Blessing. If I wronged you, I apologize. Which is the theme of the High Holidays. The YK fast, I too need a bit of improvement and have the opportunity once again, each and every year, to cleanse.
Besides, I am not the person you need to answer. You know who it is…I am human with strengths and weaknesses like you. The only part is I was given ‘the calling’ to assist.
Like Sandy Koufax…Growing up, there was no question where I knew I had to be. Back then, you simply was absent from school. I like the fact that today, the NY Schools are closed. After college, in the working world, before ever becoming a Rabbi, it stayed with me. If I had to take a day without Pay, I took it! There was no question. It was not going to weaken me. In fact, my employers respected me, for I knew what I had to do and where I needed to be.
As a Rabbi, it is expected of me to observe, but put aside all the expectations, requirements and commitments that go with the title. It too did not weaken me, I am proud to be a Rabbi as well.
I thank my Mother and Grandmother for instilling in me where I needed to be; what I needed to do.
Remember, the first place you start learning is in your home. Either growing up with the parental guidance or as an Adult, on your own or in marriage. We are constantly learning about ourselves and the learning doesn’t stop. For those who are parents, you know you are your children’s role models and they will carry your guidance making it their own.
On Yom Kippur that begins at sundown this evening, I know where I will be and I am truly proud of it! Just like Sandy Koufax. If it also helps, I happen to be a baseball fan too.
For those observing the Yom Kippur fast… have an easy fast.
Do what you need to do; where you need to be; No one ever said Life was not a Learning Curve.
Get it… Baseball…curve ball….
It was written on Rosh Hashanah
The book closes and seals on Yom Kippur
May you be inscribed in the Book of Life for a Good Year.