On Sunday night, February 12, Chazaq and Torah Anytime hosted “Halftime for Torah” during the halftime of the Super Bowl. The first speaker, Charlie Harary, well-known inspirational speaker, shared that there are lessons we can draw from the Super Bowl that impact our lives. He told the story of the quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles. Jalen Hurts started playing football for Alabama and he was in a championship game with Georgia in 2017. The coach put a freshman in the game to replace Hurts. Sitting on the bench was devastating for Hurts. He left to a different college and his team lost again. The thing is that despite these losses, Hurts never gave up. He didn’t throw in the towel; instead, he kept working. Now, he is a starting quarterback in the NFL. Mr. Harary taught that life throws you challenges. “People who succeed are the ones who don’t avoid challenges. They never give up and they stick with it when things get hard.”

He pointed out: “If you don’t give up, then things change and opportunities present themselves.”

He drew an example from the Torah. Yisro was the chief idol worshipper in his country. He made a change to do what was right and he and his family were ostracized. No one would work for him, and so that was why his daughters had to go to the well to water the sheep. Yisro didn’t give up, and one day he earned Moshe Rabbeinu as his son-in-law. “Do what’s right. Stick with it, and opportunities open up for those who don’t give up.”

He emphasized that you do not accomplish anything of value if you give up. He offered a blessing to the audience to be able to implement this lesson.

Next, Rabbi Paysach Krohn, well-known mohel, author, and speaker, shared how Sam Hubbard, the defensive end for the Bengals, in the last moments in a playoff game, was able to make an incredible touchdown. He is a 265-pound guy and when he caught the ball, he had to run 98 yards to make a touchdown. Somehow, he outran the others and scored the touchdown that won the game for Cincinnati. When he was asked how he accomplished this feat, he responded that his trainer made him run 110 sprints 15 times a week. He did this training in the summer, so he was prepared. In life, we must always be prepared for things that might occur.

Rabbi Krohn shared a famous quote from Benjamin Franklin. “Failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” We all want to prepare for Mashiach. In Sefer Yeshayah it states, “Tzion will be redeemed through justice and its returnees in the merit of the tz’dakah that they give.” Rabbi Krohn said that we should take the opportunity to think about tz’dakah. Consult with your rav about how much you are obligated to give. “Let’s be prepared for all eventualities and we will be prepared for Mashiach.”

After that, Rabbi Gavriel Friedman, well-known speaker, shared that a running back loses five pounds in a football game. A lineman loses nine-to-ten pounds per game. They exert a tremendous amount of energy. The Gemara teaches: “We’re running, and they’re running. We are running to draw closer to Hashem, and they are running towards something different.” The football players run because they have a goal in mind. If they lack a ball, they can only play for a few minutes. Rav Noach Weinberg zt”l said to keep your focus on the ball. If the ball is gone, you can’t do it. If you keep your focus on something, then you can keep doing it.

He then posed some questions. When we make a siyum, are we running to the beis midrash with fervor? Do we have a goal in mind and, even if we are tired, are we running to do something? Make sure you are doing something holy and check at what level you are doing it. In the Super Bowl, we see people focused on the end game. We should learn from them. Our end game is drawing closer to Hashem. Keep your eye on the ball so you can say you are running to do something valuable. “Keep it in your mind’s eye and keep your eye on the ball.”

The last speaker, Rabbi Yoel Gold, well-known speaker, shared the story of how Eitan Katz wrote “Song of Hope” following the tragic terrorist attack on the café in Israel where Dr. Applebaum and his daughter were murdered the night before her wedding. The theme of the song is that we know that Hashem is with us with pain and suffering. “I know You are with me.”

By Susie Garber