Vayera, 5777/2017~ “The Dodgers really won! SERIES…OUSLY…”
Yes, pun intended, but lest you believe I’m just another crackpot history “denier”, hear me out:
Our Parasha opens with an incredible scene. Abraham is in literal “conference with G-d”-Hashem was in the midst of a “hospital visit” to a weakened Avraham (See Rashi), yet when 3 Wayfarers walk past his (4) doors, he bails on his meeting with Hashem, tears off his IV” so he could not only entice the desert Arabs (See Rashi again) into his home, but so that he can play host at the highest levels of hospitality (slaughter cattle-prepare a feast…, wash their feet…)
“Excuse me Abraham: the Almighty is talking to you! Don’t you think the guests will understand? Isn’t there someone else who can do the hosting this one time? Don’t you have a personal assistant? It’s G-d!”
Back to the Dodgers: after the game, I was sitting at the grand “Ritz” meeting with another Yid, not a particularly observant one but a serious West -Side “ Macher” who matches his business success with an equal passion for Tzedaka and charity, and we were observing the general public initiate their descent into “Aveilut”. They of course, were mourning, beginning to sit “Shiva” over the incomprehensible loss, nebach, of the Dodgers, and over the plight of all Angelenos, who underwent such Tzoris! A truly sad scene.
And then my West Side big shot says, “I’ve been a passionate and “Meshugga” Dodger fan my entire life, but I am so happy for Houston. Look at us in L.A. We have beautiful weather, homes, cars, “people” -movie stars etc… Houston had only devastation this past year. It was torn apart. It would be cruel to not be overwhelmed with Happiness for them. Yes, we lost our hard and Long fight for glory, and it escaped us-but look who benefitted from that-the ones who perhaps needed it more…”
So my “secular” Friend said it all. The Torah through this “Abraham-invites his guests” episode, is teaching us one of the most fundamental ideas in true religion: There is no such thing as being holy, observant, “G-d conscious, G-d connected, G-d infused, G-d devoted” without being completely devoted to other humans, to kindness, charity, to the care and love of our earthly brothers and sisters. Being spiritual, religious, pious includes “being a home” not only to the divine presence, to The Shechina, but to providing a physical home for others to experience the same, for others to benefit from whatever earthly comforts we can offer to them, as partners with Hashem in his creation of this planet, home for all of earth’s inhabitants.
Simply put: There is no such thing as being “religious” without also being good to others. So Abraham bailed on Hashem -and gave up basking in the very glory of the Shechina, to greet Hashem’s other, perhaps less illuminated creatures. As my friend at the Ritz taught, that at its source is the same reason we should consider Wednesday night as a win for all of us. While we lost chance to bask in the glory of the Championship, by this loss of (just) a baseball game, others whose lives may had been shattered, and who are just emerging from devastation , can share in moments of pride, joy and uplifted spirits, and feel at least in some way, like heroes. Who knows, this ultimate temporal victory for Houston in the realm of sports might buoy an entire population to true victory in rebuilding shattered lives, homes and families, and create even new space on this earth for future in-person meetings with Hashem-making us all winners.
That my friends, is something I think even Sandy Koufax and all of “Base Yisrael” would agree on.
Shabbat Shalom and Good Shabbos to all! Shalom Rubanowitz