Thursday, February 23, 2012


Erev Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Terumah

Rosh Chodesh Adar 5772/February 24, 2012

New Yorkers have found out that there is a New York NBA team after-all. They found it out because of a 23 year old Asian-American named Jeremy Lin.

It’s been a while since New York basketball fans have had much to cheer about. The postponed beginning of this season because of financial greed didn’t help matters, and when the Knicks began with a dismal start falling well below 500 there was even less for fans to be excited about.

But then suddenly a player arose, literally from the shadows. In fact Lin had been around for some time but had never had the opportunity to prove himself. After receiving no athletic scholarship offers out of high school and being undrafted out of college, Lin headed to Harvard University (!). After graduating he signed a partially guaranteed contract deal with his hometown Golden State Warriors.

Lin made the Warriors' opening day roster for the 2010–11 regular season, but received little playing time during the season. In December Lin was claimed off waivers by the Houston Rockets. After playing seven minutes in two preseason games the Rockets waived him, at which point the Knicks claimed him off waivers to be a backup.

The Knicks considered releasing Lin before his contract became guaranteed. However, after the Knicks squandered a fourth quarter lead in a February 3 loss to the Boston Celtics, coach Mike D'Antoni decided to give Lin a chance to play. "He got lucky because we were playing so bad," said D'Antoni. Lin had played only 55 minutes through the Knicks' first 23 games.

On February 4, 2012, Lin had 25 points, five rebounds, and seven assists—all career-highs—in a 99–92 Knicks victory over the New Jersey Nets. During the next 6 games Lin was lights out, leading the Knicks to six consecutive victories, and enthralling fans by his galvanizing leadership on the court.

Much has been written and discussed about Lin’s extraordinary fairy-tale like story, about how one never knows what can happen. I believe there is another important lesson here:

In 1978, Michael Aun won the Toastmaster’s International Speaking contest in Vancouver. When he speaks he remarks that although he is well-known for winning the contest in 1978, he lost it in 1977 in Toronto, because he went seven seconds over his allotted time. In his words, “Do you know what you do after you lose a contest because of seven seconds? You go up to your hotel room and you cry. But after a while, you realize that you can go for it again. A year later I won it in Vancouver. I often say that we have to remember that you often have to go through Toronto in order to get to Vancouver.

Rabbi Dr. Twersky, noted author and lecturer has written over 60 books. He relates that when he was ready to publish his first book during the 1970s he was rejected by 30 publishers.

In an age where production and accomplishment are all that are valued, there is little patience for fruitless effort and failures. But the facts of life are that one cannot be successful until they have struggled, made mistakes, learned to be patient with himself, and have accepted that he is not perfect. Any success not achieved through grit and challenge is ephemeral and transient.

You can’t publish books without getting rejected first, you can’t go to Vancouver until you’ve gone through Toronto, and you can’t become great without learning how to sit on the bench and watch the spotlight pass over you. But if you have the patience and endurance to stay the course, the road eventually leads towards the fulfillment of your dreams and hopes.

Shabbat Shalom & Good Shabbos,

R’ Dani and Chani Staum