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DeflateGate the other Side of the Coin

Friday, 23 January, 2015 - 4:25 pm

Patriots.jpgEven though I recently became an American, I have not yet caught up and not sure that I ever will catch up with the thrill of American Football. With that said, Boston is blessed with many great sports teams and it is always a treat to see so many people revved up and excited when one of our teams are doing well in their respective leagues. Occasionally we even get asked to make a Misheberach and a special prayer for one of our team’s successes, but even better than that are the smiles and excitement that is so abundant during those times.

In recent days there has been an attempt to take a lot of air out of some of the excitement that came along with the Patriots entry into the Superbowl. Accusations are flying around of air pressure reduction in the Patriots Balls which make for an easier catch and throw and now the media and commentators are abuzz with discussions on this topic.

Who would have ever thought that a few pounds of air pressure could stir such a ruckus? Well apparently it can, and apparently those few pounds of air pressure can make the world of a difference, and we have yet to hear the final word of the DeflateGate situation. In the meantime as always we will pray for our State’s success in all of its endeavors, sports games included.

While in this case an intentional act of deflating air may be a wrong move and even illegal, there are definitely times when a little less air pressure can do a whole lot of good.

Pharaoh, the ancient ruler of Egypt, whom we read about in this week’s Torah portion is someone who had a very high air pressure and was someone whom we would probably describe as being “full of hot air”. On the other hand, Moses, the leader of the Jews, was someone who had a very low pressure of “hot air”, in fact he was considered to be an extremely humble person.

In one instant, right before Moses was asked to go to Pharaoh and convey a warning, he actually responds to G-d, that “I am a man of sealed lips”, I cannot speak and I won’t be able to succeed. Strangely enough, G-d ignores his statement and instead tells him to go and counter Pharaoh and his ruthless behavior and begin the process of weakening him and his resolve to do evil.

The commentaries explain, that after Moses demonstrated to G-d the ultimate deflation and his honest true sense of humility, G-d countered and says that it is exactly this kind of personality that will have the spiritual and emotional capacity to undermine Pharaoh, the man with an overload of heavy air pressure and hot air.

Often we think that the best way to counter a challenging ego is to bolster our own ego, but here G-d lays out a different dynamic, and instead, humility (combined with a principled stand) is the most powerful antidote to ego and hot air.

In Judaism humility is not a sign of weakness, rather it is an understanding and appreciation of our role in G-d’s master plan along with an acknowledgement that our talents and strengths are G-d given gifts. When balanced right, a healthy dose of humility can actually help us reach much more than we think it can, we will be able to reach across the court, we will have more accurate pitches and even softer landings.  

In the meantime good luck to the Patriots and Shabbat Shalom!

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