Rebuilder Series: The Amazing Power of Same-Team Thinking
Good Morning Everybody,
If one of our children plays a team sport, we cheer for our child as well as his or her teammates. But why do we cheer for those other kids on the team? I mean, you love your own child, so it’s natural to cheer for him or her… but what about those other kids? They may be total strangers! I don’t have a connection to those kids! How could we be so enthusiastic for a stranger?
The obvious answer is that you probably want your child’s team to win, and since those kids are trying to make that happen, you cheer for them as well. You cheer for all the kids because they’re on the same team.
I wonder if we could extrapolate from this. We often cheer in life for those who we naturally love….like family members and our best friends….That’s a no brainer. But beyond those tight relationships, I think if we’re honest with ourselves, it gets a little “if-y”. Sometimes we’re a little more reserved when it comes to cheering on acquaintances, strangers and even everyday friends. Our egos like to first determine how someone else’s success makes us look. If we feel threatened by it, we’ll often withhold our well wishes, or say a nice word just to be cordial.
But what if we applied this team-sports analogy to the way we look at our fellow Jews? After all, we ARE a team. Perhaps we can bypass our ego a bit if we tap into the big picture– that all Jews truly are connected; we’re never really competing with each other, we’re never “against” each other… we’re teammates.
If a guy in my office gets a raise, GOOD– my teammate got a raise. If my neighbor gets a new car, GREAT–my teammate got a new car. If my friend gets honored for her hard work, or a stranger gets the job instead of me, or someone I don’t know gets the best parking spot two seconds ahead of me– GOOD FOR THEM– we’re all on the same team. We’re family. We’re connected.
And just in case you think I’m being “pie in the sky ridiculous”, I didn’t want to bust out the the “M” word but I will– all of this is a Mitzvah. As in “mandatory.” We have the beautiful team building mitzvah to love our fellow Jews like ourselves! (Pele Yoatz, section ahavah; Lukutai Dovid, p. 27)
When we feel the sting of jealousy strike, that’s okay. It happens, it’s real. But then maybe we can try to do as we mentioned in last Friday’s post– root for the other person. Remind ourselves that this other guy is our brother or sister! We’re on the same team! Something good for him is good for all of us. Of course, this is easier said than done, but with patience, practice and persistence it’s surely in our grasp, and also in our best interest.
We might not be able to imagine the incredible spiritual ramifications this attitude will have in the higher realms, but just think of the incredibly liberating and joyful effect it could have on our lives and our relationships!
Have joyful team-bonding day everybody,
Keep on Building!
(The above sources I cited were taken from Rabbi Pliskin’s book “Love Your Neighbor.”)
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