Yesterday I asked Ben, my bar mitzvah student and fellow baseball lover, how he would define the word "sacrifice". He replied that "it is when you give something up fo yourself in order to benefit others or yourself."
I was struck by his insight, and was delighted to happen upon the image to the left of what happens on a baseball field when a batter sacrifices himself for the benefit of the team. Notice that his intention/action sets every other player on the field in motion. Not one player on the field is unmoved by the action of a single member of its community.
The ripple affect caused by an act of giving.
I was listening to Tony Kornheiser this morning (which I only do if I I happen to be in the car and he's talking to Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe) and Ryan shared that he learned more about baseball from former Baltimore Oriole manager Earl Weaver than any other person in his life. (Ryan had been the beat reporter for the Orioles when Weaver was manager)
One day outfielder Pat Kelley walked into Weaver's office and told him that he had decided to become a minister. "I've decided to walk with God," he told his manager.
Weaver replied, "Better you should walk with the bases loaded."
There's such an amazing payoff being a life long baseball fan and being familiar with the characters who seem to have stepped out of a Damon Runyan story.
This too is Torah.
Mark Novak is a "free-range" rabbi who lives in Washington DC and works, well, just about everywhere. In 2012 he founded Minyan Oneg Shabbat, home to MOSH (Minyan Oneg Shabbat), MindfulMOSH (Jewish mindfulness gathering), and