Photo Credit: National Museum of American Jewish History
A baseball signed by Sandy Koufax displayed in National Museum of American Jewish History.

A Judaism that consists mainly of Gefilte fish, chopped liver and Matzah balls may be gastronomically inviting, but it tends to leave one with spiritual heartburn.

Jewish Heritage Day was a celebration of symbolism without substance.  The video screen may have been in DEEP center field, but its message could not have been more shallow.

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To be fair, it was pointed out that some Jewish ball players considered Yom Kippur important enough a day to sit out a ball game.  But hasn’t anyone ever heard of SHABBOS?!

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Let me share with you a bit of baseball history that SHOULD have been mentioned at Shea:

“M.M.” was a Jewish baseball player.  He excelled in high school baseball, and was offered a baseball scholarship at a prestigious university.  His other choice was Yeshiva University.

M.M. had a dilemma.  He had before him the chance for a free education, and a shot at being drafted into Major League Baseball.  It also meant likely compromise of Shabbos and other values.  His other option, Y.U., offered a Torah education.  No baseball, no limelight, no multi-million dollar contracts or adoring fans.

Moses reminds us in this week’s Torah Reading that “… I place before you today a blessing …”  Life is filled with choices.  Difficult, gut-wrenching choices.

Baseball or Shabbos?  Millions or Torah?   M.M. chose Torah.  Today, Rabbi M.M. is a Torah educator who has enriched the lives of countless Jewish children.

Sandy Koufax sat out a World Series game.  And I genuinely respect him for that decision.  But a once-a-year day off for Yom Kippur is a commitment to Jewish culture.  A 52-times-a-year day off for Shabbos is a commitment to TORAH.

Sandy Koufax is a man.  Rabbi M.M. is a superstar.

Let’s live a life of Torah.  Save the culture for your yogurt.

Have a great Shabbos.

Rabbi Yerachmiel Seplowitz

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Rabbi Yerachmiel Seplowitz, a mohel and chaplain from Monsey, NY, has been a member of the RCA for over 30 years, nine of those as a member of its executive committee.