Sabbath Part 1
With the mighty Tampa Bay Rays 6 games up in their division and with the best record in the American league, baseball has been on my mind. So, when I heard about a young prospect named Elie Kligman, I figured I’d see what I could find out about him. Elie graduated this past year from Cimarron-Memorial High School in Las Vegas. He’s a baseball star, a talented switch-hitter with power and a superb pitcher. He was listed as the 14th-best high school prospect in Nevada by a baseball scouting service. In his second start as a freshman (in 2018), Kligman fired a no-hitter against Faith Lutheran (which had nothing to do with anything other than I thought it was humorous.) Kligman was recently drafted by the Washington Nationals in the 20th round and is focusing on the catcher’s position. What makes this interesting is he is shomer Shabbat, meaning he observes the strict rules of the Jewish Sabbath and cannot — and will not — play ball on Friday nights or Saturday afternoons before the sun goes down. Kligman became the second Orthodox Jewish player ever selected in the MLB Draft. When asked if he could be enticed to break his religious obligations, he replied, “That day of Shabbas is for God. I’m not going to change that.” After reading about Kligman, I was reminded of Hall of Famer, Sandy Koufax. The masterful left-hander chose not to pitch in Game 1 of the 1965 World Series because it fell on Yom Kippur. As the story goes, his replacement, Don Drysdale, got hammered, and when Manager Walter Alston removed him in the third inning Drysdale said, “I bet right now you wish I was Jewish, too.” I just want to remind you that Sabbath involves two interrelated commandments: to remember and to observe. The point and purpose of the Sabbath to help us to not forget God.
Scripture Reading: Ezekiel 20:19-20
I the Lord am your God; follow my statutes, and be careful to observe my ordinances, and hallow my sabbaths that they may be a sign between me and you, so that you may know that I the Lord am your God.
What brings you joy?
What helps you experience God?
What is Sabbath rest for you?
Prayer: Holy God, I pause for just a moment to give you thanks for the many ways you bless my life. Keep me attuned to the holiness of your Spirit and remind me that faithfulness is a path I can choose. Amen.