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.


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?!


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.