Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Ray Lewis for Israeli Prime Minister

Since my Aliyah in 2010, watching the NFL on TV has become quite a rarity. Eventhough it was my childhood pastime, I was forced to give it up if I wanted to live a normal Israeli life (staying up until 3:00 AM every Sunday! Not on an army schedule). It was simply too much work to pull weekly all-nighters, and after a year or two I stopped caring.

But with the end of this season, my Baltimore purple and black blood began pumping in my veins again.

The Ravens were marching up in the playoff match-ups. They finally secured their Super Bowl spot by defeating the New England Patriots 28-13.

For the two weeks before the Super Bowl I was talking with a fellow comrade in the army, who, being another Baltimorean, was dying as well to get a leave to see the game. We discussed all sorts of damage we could do to our bodies so the army would have to let us out.

However, as the "sanctified" Sunday arrived, his leave was granted, and mine was denied. Life can sometimes be compared to a female dog...

I woke up to my Facebook wall covered with the great news that Baltimore, after over a decade, received its second Lombardi Trophy. I went on YouTube immediately to watch the highlights; and what highlights there were! Records were broken, as were players' bones, and about half way through the game the stadium light power broke as well. It was quite a game. The way a Super Bowl was meant to be.

I then proceeded to watch the entire game from start to finish and, contrary to popular belief, it was a very enjoyable experience. There is something glorious about watching the men you idolized as a child, wearing the uniforms you coveted, becoming victorious. Even if you know how it will end.

As the game concluded and they began the joyous "presenting of the Lombardi Trophy" to the Ravens, a few key Ravens were called up to speak.

The last to speak was the middle linebacker, Ray Lewis. After earlier this season announcing his retirement after a 17-year career with the Ravens, it was obviously an emotional moment for all of Baltimore when he raised the trophy and screamed: "Baltimore!" The announcer asked him how he felt to be going out as a champion, and he smiled and said: "It's simple, when G-d is for you, who can be against you." These words were clearly inspired by those of King David when he wrote: "Hashem is with me, I will not fear; what can man do to me?" (Psalms 118:6)

I was impressed with Ray Lewis, and then felt a wave of enormous national embarrassment.

I was impressed by this powerful player taking his moment of glory to acknowledge and praise G-d. He didn't kiss his muscles or talk about his own abilities. Instead, he boldly pronounced before millions of spectators the fact that G-d controls every aspect of our lives, and that no one can go against his will.

I was embarrassed as a Jew however. How many times has a national Israeli sports player done something like that? More importantly, when was the last time an Israeli Prime Minister said after a successful military operation something like that? You could probably count it on one hand.

How sad. He gets it. Yet we, the “chosen people,” do not.

I don't know your opinion of ol' Ray Lewis. Maybe he's a vicious murder, maybe he's guilty by association, maybe a victim of "wrong-place-wrong-time," it doesn't really matter. We can all take a lesson from this amazing public sanctification of His name.

How many times do we forget that Hashem is really the One calling the shots? How many times have Orthodox Jews discussed the danger of America getting "mad" at Israel and withholding aid? They should consider the words of 37- year-old, thirteen-time Pro-Bowler, and very non-Jewish, Ray Lewis. "It's simple, if G-d is for you, who can be against you."

Sometimes I'm proud to be from the gritty streets of Raven Nation. Well done Ravens, and thank you Ray Lewis for showing us an example of how we should be.

"Who is wise, he learns from every person." (Ethics of our Fathers 4:1)

1 comment:

  1. awesome post dovid
    Cant go harder than Baltimore