April 18, 2024
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April 18, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

To Everything There Is a Season

As I was shopping early in the morning very recently, I noticed a magazine with a photograph of Tom Seaver on the front cover, accompanied by the very recent date of his death. I realized that I had no clue of his passing and I was jolted by it.

When I was a child I loved baseball, and was always a Mets fan. Tom Seaver, who at one point was known as the “face of the Mets,” was someone I always enjoyed watching play. Writing about the various occasions and games I saw him on television, even if it was when he was pitching for another team, would fill many columns. Ah, one of my childhood heroes. But alas, time marches on.

In Pirkei Avot 5:25 there is a teaching of activities and abilities that appropriately correspond to one’s age. One of the lines reads: “.. at the age of 40 years for [possessing] binah (wisdom), at the age of fifty years old for [being able to give] eitzah (advice)…” Thinking about this and connecting it with the news of the death of Tom Seaver, I realize that at my age I need to try to take a mature perspective as I analyze events around me and then try not only to learn valuable lessons but attempt to share them with others.

I am at a point of life where it seems to me that I should focus my energies on trying to be a positive role model, as someone trying to learn, live by and love Hashem’s Torah. When all is said and done, that is what counts to me and my wife, and that is what we pray will count to our children as well. Yes, recreation and relaxation, when done proportionately, have their place, but they should not be a major preoccupation.

Thinking further about Tom Seaver’s passing, I relate it to my work as a chaplain.

Sometimes I have visited with patients who are on hospice care, and one of the challenges I face in these situations is answering the very difficult question that the person on hospice (who realizes that the end of the trail is now very close) poses: “What did I do in my life?” Or, as I perceive it, “What have I achieved that makes a difference?” Well, only so many people are “household names” whose celebrity status alone will make them remembered, such as a star athlete. One of the areas I have attempted to focus upon in that very challenging encounter is, if possible, pointing out to the hospice patient that if the people in this person’s life recognize the positive example he or she set that will leave an impression, therefore they made a positive difference, no matter how small it may seem.

While we will not all win Cy Young awards, Super Bowls, or become celebrities, we do all have a chance to be positive role models to our families, friends, neighbors and acquaintances. Maybe we won’t get a plaque in the hall of fame, but we can aim to be someone who made another person’s journey better and brighter.


Rabbi David Blum provides pastoral care throughout New Jersey as part of the Rabbi Chaim Yosef Furst Chaplaincy Program, which is conducted via Congregation Ohav Emeth of Highland Park, and the Joint Chaplaincy Program of the Jewish Federation of Greater Metrowest. He resides with his family in Highland Park and may be contacted at [email protected].

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