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Finish Line

August 29, 2011

Last weeks  perasha Re’Eh begins with a resounding cry (Devarim 11:26): “See! I am  presenting before you all today, a blessing and a curse! A blessing such  that you shall keep my commandments…and a curse should you not  hearken unto my commands and veer from the way set before you today…”

Even in sport we can see the good that people are doing. It is humbling to see people raising charity in various sporting events like City to Surf or Climbing Mt Kilamanjaro.  Well done to you all.

There are two similar words in the Hebrew language denoting ‘after’, achrei and achar. Rashi, at the beginning of this week’s parsha (11:30) and in various other places, notes that the word achar  denotes a short gap between that which follows and that which precedes, while achrei denotes a long gap. He continues to explain the phrase (11:30), “be’ever hayarden achrei” to mean “on the other side of the (river) Jordan, far beyond”. However, the word “achrei” appears a second time in the parsha (13:5), “achrei Hashem Elokeichem Telechu” – “After Hashem your G-d shall you follow”.Why the “lomg” gap.

It is brought down in the name of the Chofetz Chaim – The employ of the word achrei regarding ‘following Hashem’ is to convey that our attitude must be to continuously strive towards our goal of serving Hashem and never feel that we have reached the “finish line”.

Last weekend I did a BRICK training session (a 56km cycle followed by a Half Marathon). I was pleasantly surprised on how I did in the run. Joe Friel tweeted last week – “Compete” means “to strive together.” If it wasn’t for your competitor you would not be this good.

I do not believe that I would have been able to do the run that I did without the motivation of fellow competitors in the event and with the support the people I run and cycle with.

I have seen what people can do for charity and I have seen what I have been able to do in the past, but in both my religious beliefs and sport training I know that I still have a long way togo to the “finish line” or as my Trainer Mr RideWrap says – The one who wins is the one who is last to fatigue. (I don’t think I can win, but can strive to not fatigue).

With the Month of Elul (Month before Rosh Hasahana) around the corner, now is the time to start bridging the gap.


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