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Jan. 14, 2022

Number One Fan (B'Shalach)

I was thinking of the following question: Who is the number one fan? Is it the spectator in the stadium who is yelling the loudest? Or maybe it’s the spectator who is wearing the most face paint? Or perhaps it’s the spectator who buys the best seats? This leads me to another question. Oftentimes at a sports game, all of the fans will be given that classic foam glove that is shaped like a finger which says “#1 Fan”. Now, is it really plausible to suggest that each of the thousands of fans are all the number one fan? How is this possible? If guy A is the number one fan, how can guy B be the number one fan?

I think the answer is as follows. Being the number one fan is not based on a global rating system; but rather, the barometer for the number one fan is based on an individual rating system. Allow me to explain. It’s not fair to say that the guy who is yelling the loudest or has the most face paint or has the best seats is the number one fan. In fact, according to the Bleacher Report, “A true fan is one who supports the team through thick and thin, good calls and bad calls, good plays and terrible plays”. Every fan in the stadium has the potential to be the number one fan, depending on his or her individual commitment, passion and devotion to the team, no matter what.

We are now in position to understand what seems to be a quizzical possuk in the Torah. In Parshas B’shalach (Chapter 15, Verse 2) the Torah says זֶ֤ה קֵלִי֙ וְאַנְוֵ֔הוּ.  After experiencing the miraculous event of Yam Suf splitting, the Jewish people proclaimed these words, “This is my G-d and I will beautify him.”

The question is, how is it possible that three million people all proclaimed the words “This is my G-d”? After all, if He is your G-d then how can He be my G-d? And if He is my G-d then how can He be your G-d? The answer is obvious. We don’t measure our relationship with Hashem based on a global rating system; rather, the barometer that we use is an individual rating system. If I am connected, passionate, and devoted to G-d and his Torah, then I can honestly say “This is my G-d.” At the same time, if you are connected, passionate, and devoted to G-d and his Torah, then you can honestly say “This is my G-d.”

But it goes even deeper.  When two Jews – individually – are able to proclaim, “This is my G-d,” it is the greatest complement to one another since it shows that each person, with his or her individualized set of strengths and weaknesses, is able to connect to Hashem in their own unique way.  

When the Jews experienced the splitting of the sea, each one – on their own – expressed their connection, passion, and devotion to Hashem by saying, “This is my G-d.”

Have a holy Shabbos!