I was a little bothered by this video — watch it and see if you agree with me:
Look, it’s a nice story and all, and I can even see some people finding it inspirational, but for me, it’s slightly depressing. You’re talking about a former NFLer here. The guy is supposed to be amongst the world’s physical elite. And the best he can do is eight columns? And it’s not even a full eight. Watch his hagbah again right at the beginning — it’s more like seven and three-quarters. Is that the ultimate goal that we all have to live up to? I figured a professional athlete would at least get nine.
I was also a little confused by Veingrad’s comment at the end, saying that he would still play football in the NFL, knowing what he knows now. How is that not inconsistent with his faith? He knows that he couldn’t possibly be a fully observant Jew playing professional football. If he believes in the God of the Torah, how could he even consider a life that veers from Halacha (Jewish Law)?
I found it interesting that the commentators at the end were particularly impressed with this last comment. If Veingrad would have said that pro ball was a mistake or something he could not do now that he believes in God, it seems like the commentators would have looked upon him as a negative role model: “And not ashamed of being an NFL player.” “Right — good influence on the kids, too.” Wouldn’t he be a better ‘influence on the kids’ if he maintained his ideals unequivocally?
Of course it would be foolish to judge Veingrad (or the commentators) from a small piece like this. We all know that video can be edited and modified to distort reality. The truth? Who knows. It’s very possible Veingrad can easily manage ten columns.
The event that’s often targeted as the beginning point of the story of Pesach (Passover) is the moment Yoseph (Joseph) was thrown into the pit by his jealous brothers. This is what brought Yoseph to Egypt, eventually leading to the enslavement of the Jewish people.
So I guess we can say that jealousy set in motion the terrible things we endured under Egyptian domination. And there’s certainly a lesson to be learned from this.
But what’s the lesson exactly? Don’t be jealous? What’s the opposite of jealousy?
According to Rabbi Ari Kahn in the video below, the opposite of jealousy seems to be complacency: be happy with what you have. Is that really an ideal? How do you improve if you say you are exactly what God wants you to be, you have exactly what God wants you to have?
Maybe some jealousy, appropriately placed, is a good thing. What would this world be like if no one ever said, “I’m as good as I get.”
Or are we supposed to say, “No, no: my life is half full…?”