September 21, 2009

Grand Slam

I'm not one to like seeing Israel lose at anything - be they wars, debates or sporting tournaments.

But yesterday's 4-1 defeat in the Davis Cup semi-final makes me happy.

Not of course for the victorious Spaniards.

But for the Jewish nation.

Yesterday was Rosh Hashanah.
The Jewish New Year is not done with booze and fireworks but with two days of prayer. Even for the secular it is a time for reflection over our past deeds and humility in face of the year ahead. This is because, as 'the people of the book' we have a higher responsibility to our fellow man as well as the creator of all things.

This was no day for a national tennis game - least of all as a draw for hundreds of thousands of Israelis to watch in pubs and clubs whilst more than half the population were in synagogue.

I'm no tennis buff but I've read that few of the pundits expected Israel to beat Russia or get anywhere near the semi-finals in this tournament. The team captain could not therefore have anticipated being matched on the high holydays.
However, once having reached the semi-final there was clearly an option to withdraw rather than play.

Putting God above sport would undoubtedly have made major headlines, even for Israel.

Just think of the impact such a message would have made in these nihilist times.

And what a contrast to those who invoke God and religion not in matters of sport, but to justify mass murder and civilian butchery.

But Captain Eyal Ran and his star player Dudi Sela went ahead and played anyway.

And the grand-slamming they got was nothing but truly Divine!

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