Honorable Mensch-ion

Remember God

When do you remember God? Our response is often, “When God remembers us.” We wait until a life cycle, be it joy or grief, to bring the Divine Presence into our lives.

Over the last month, I have combined two passion of mine; sports and faith. On my new podcast, “Rabbi on the Sidelines,” I have the opportunity to ask figures in the sports world, be it athletes, coaches, management, or media, questions about faith. While these are not questions they are regularly asked, the stories that they reveal in these interviews are beyond fascinating.

Not one guest has refrained from speaking of their faith, both on and off the court. Not one guest has told me, “There is no faith in sports.”

This is Shabbat Shekalim. We read a third Torah, a selection recounting the census taken in the wilderness after the Exodus of Egypt. The Torah tells us this hafl shekel is a reminder for the Israelites before God. Chizkuni comments, since every Israelite contributed to the Tabernacle, each time we see the Tabernacle, we also remember God.

Each one of us leads our own lives. We have personal lives, professional lives, and religious lives. Rarely do these worlds intersect.

Yet, I am learning week by week, that when we are asked, “Do you remember God in your regularly scheduled life?” The answer is, “Yes!”

We simply must be asked the question.

My guest this week was Dan Shulman, Major League Baseball play by play announcer. When asked the question above, he recounted a story he had not told in over twenty years.

As a young broadcaster working for a minor league hockey team, he had been on the air during the announcement of the Gulf War. He ran to a payphone in the intermission, and his parents told him, “Israel was under attack.” At that moment, he told his producer he must go home and watch the news. Later, when he turned the hockey game on, the message on the screen was as follows, “This broadcast has been interrupted due to events in the Persian Gulf.” Shulman explained that at that moment, being a Jew was more important than a puck on the ice.

There are moments in our lives that force us once again to look at the Tabernacle and reassess its importance in our life as we comprehend the importance of the half shekel that each one of us gives to make our community whole.

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