Thursday, December 1, 2011


Erev Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Vayetzei

6 Kislev 5772/December 2, 2011

It’s not easy being a New York Mets fan these days. The Mets have become the nebuchs from Queens, the team that just can’t get it together. A billboard hanging right near the Brooklyn Bridge preaches the greatness of New York as being ‘the city that hosts six professional sports teams, and the Mets’. Ouch!

Just recently the Mets organization leaders convened to discuss what they can do to boost their hapless team. How could they get their players to hit more home runs? There are All-Star players whose annual numbers of homeruns have dropped precipitously during the last three seasons since the Mets moved to their new home at Citi-Field. Why can’t they get it Wright?

The organization came up with a brilliant solution. They decided to lower the outfield walls by seven feet, and to bring in the right field wall by 17 feet. Now fly balls that would have been caught in the outfield, or would have bounced off the wall, will be deemed homeruns. That should definitely solve the Mets’ woes.

Whenever one is faced with feelings of inadequacy or lack of fulfillment because he has not achieved his self-imposed goals, he has two options: He can either reassess his efforts and ambitions and recommit himself to meeting his goals with renewed vigor, or he can settle for the path of least resistance by minimizing his goals and allowing himself to be satisfied with what he has already achieved.

This is true in regards to all areas of life, but especially in regards to spiritual matters. It’s been said that if a child is trying to kiss a Sefer Torah as it is being carried to the bimah, it’s better to raise the child to the Torah than to lower the Torah to the child. The symbolism is that we must never rest on our laurels or compromise on our values. The Torah stands on its lofty pedestal and we must raise our standards to be in tandem with its mitzvos, even at the cost of self compromise and sacrifice.

We have to figure out a way to live by its boundaries and parameters, and at times that requires spiritual exercise and growth. But we can never cut corners to make the Torah suit our needs, or to fit our agenda.

The Mets may be enjoyable to watch (especially if you’re the opposition) but this is one lesson not to be learned. It’s always better to build your muscles than to chop down the walls.

Shabbat Shalom & Good Shabbos,

R’ Dani and Chani Staum