Thursday, April 7, 2011

Team Israel

I admit it. I brainwash my kids. One look at the 9 ft Derek Jeter Fathead hanging on my son’s bedroom wall is a sure indication. It didn’t get there by itself. I love the Yankees. Hence, my offspring have been, shall we say, guided in the right direction to share the love.

The Yankees are one thing, but in the end it’s Team Israel I want my kids to root for the most. I called my little fellow fans to gather around me a few weeks ago after I read the Haftorah portion in Isaiah 43 & 44. It was brainwashing time again. But this time their wonderful, beautiful minds were getting washed with Hashem’s Word. They sat by me and we read aloud some of the passages from Isaiah. Then we talked about how G-d chose Israel to be His servant. “Remember these things, Jacob and Israel, for you are My servant: I fashioned you to be My servant; Israel, do not forget Me!” I looked my kids squarely in the eyes and told them that no matter what anyone else ever said about Israel, G-d chose Israel to be His special nation and that would never change. Never.

We then talked about how G-d will be glorified through Israel. “Hashem has redeemed Jacob, and He will glorify Himself through Israel.” Though it’s hard for us to watch Israel go through such hard times and hard to watch so much of the world turn against Israel, somehow G-d will be seen and glorified through it all. Israel is the underdog. We like rooting for underdogs. We are rooting hard.

“Thus said Hashem, King of Israel and its Redeemer, Hashem Master of Legions; I am the first and I am the last, and aside from Me there is no G-d.” Aw, yes such powerful words. Words I want to seep deep inside my kids’ minds and hearts. Team Israel only has One Coach. Repeat after me, I said to the kids, and never forget, “The G-d of Israel is the only true G-d.”

We then talked about another passage in Isaiah. The passage in chapter 62 that describes the “watchmen on the walls,” the people in the stands, who remind G-d to fulfill His promises to Israel. “You who remind Hashem, be not silent!” I like this passage. It changed my life many years ago. I read it and I was brainwashed and heartwashed. I fell in love with Team Israel. I like how Isaiah basically gives us permission to “pester” G-d, to get in His face, so to speak, about Israel. We are to constantly remind Him that Jerusalem is supposed to be the most favored place on earth.

I told the kids that we need to do our jobs as watchmen a little better, though. As the spectators in the stands, we need to get loud and keep reminding G-d to make Jerusalem a “source of praise.” Recently a survey was taken regarding the least favorite places in the world. Israel was ranked #3. I like the fact that my kids looked crestfallen when I told them that. “What!” “But why?” Good. They are already rooting for Team Israel. And I want to keep it that way. Because in the end, it’s the only team that will be left standing.

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