Rabbi Micah's blog

The Fundamentals of Base-Ball...

This week was a full one and I thought we could all use a good smile.  Here is an article from 1909 (translated from Yiddish) called “The Fundamentals of the Base-Ball ‘Game’ Described for Non-Sports Fans”.  Enjoy:

The Forverts, New York, August 27, 1909

“The Fundamentals of the Base-Ball ‘Game’ Described for Non-Sports Fans,” The Forverts (27 August 1909): 4, 5, translated by Eddy Portnoy.


One day I was speaking to a young man who wanted to be a professional ball player. I was encouraging of his dream and truly hoped he would make his dream come true. I also said to him that even if he did not become a ball player he would make a great coach one day. I encouraged him to broaden his definition of success, to change what winning would look like.

John Wooden, the legendary coach of the UCLA Bruins said:

Our B'nai Mitzvah Students: Noah Rockoff on Trust

There are four traits that I believe are key to being a Jewish adult: prayer, analysis, leadership and teaching. These are the four tasks that every Bar and Bat Mitzvah demonstrate during their ceremony. They engage the congregation in prayer. They analyze the Torah and read it closely. They lead the service. Then lastly, they teach. 

I would like to share some of the teachings that these young men and women have come up with periodically in the weekly shabbat message. This week our teaching comes from Noah Rockoff where he discusses the importance of trust:

High Holy Day Appeal

The other day somebody came up to me and asked if it was alright for them to attend Torah study.

I asked, “why wouldn't it be alright?”

 They replied,  “well I haven't paid my dues yet.”

On Granting Forgiveness

The Rambam teaches us, “Yom kippur wipes clean wrongs committed between a person and God.  For Yom Kippur to atone for sins between people a person must go and ask for forgiveness.

The Rambam continues, “It is forbidden for a person to be cruel and refuse to be appeased. Rather, he should be easily pacified, but hard to anger. When the person who wronged him asks for forgiveness, he should forgive him.

On Joy

Joy and thriving are not the journey but the destination. According to Archbishop Desmund Tutu, “if you set out to be joyful you're not going to be joyful”. Joy happens when we follow patterns adapted from virtues and live in attunement with people and in harmony with the greater world.

The Dali Lama and Desmond Tutu identified eight pillars to help us live lives of Joy.

Emotional Reflection

A wave crashes on a person.  They begin to drown, and then breathe as the wave passes.  They can either be afraid to go into the water for the rest of their life or they can try and look at the experience in a novel way.  We all experience life, but the key is how we interpret it.

Personal homiletics

Let me ask you a question: Who is in charge of your relationship and understanding of God? Is it you? Or is it me the Rabbi? Or is it the media? Or is it our tradition?