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Sports and the Rebbe: Instead of watching, be a player on the team

גביע המונדיאל

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

The World Cup reminded me of the following story:
Once a Jewish boy came to the Lubavitcher Rebbe to receive a blessing before his Bar Mitzvah. The boy said that he came to New York City in order to meet the Rebbe, but also to go to the game of a sports team of which he was a fan. He would be going to watch his team play for the first time and asked the Lubavitcher Rebbe to also bless his team. The Rebbe smiled and said:
"In sports, you can be a fan, an admirer, a spectator, but in life don't be a spectator, be a player. A spectator can leave in the middle of a game or he may suddenly decide to be a fan of another team. And on the morning of a game, a spectator can sleep late and miss the game entirely.
A player, on the other hand, assumes responsibility. He is completely invested in the game until the final second. You are now becoming a mature, responsible Jewish boy. On the day of your Bar Mitzvah, you are becoming a player on a team called Am Yisrael (the nation of Israel). You can influence the outcome of the game by taking an important part in it. In life you do not want to be a spectator who looks on from the side, but rather a player on the team."
Not all of us can be Messi, but all of us can be players.


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