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Burst of Inspiration

53. The Boxing Simulator


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In my life I’ve done some things that are clever and some things that are less than clever. One of the less than clever things that I’ve done was when I was 18 years old I went to a boxing gym. I spent six months in that gym learning how to box, and I discovered something very, very significant. It doesn’t matter how good you are, it doesn’t matter how fast you are, it doesn’t matter how well you could block — you’re going to get hit. And the first time I got into the ring was the longest two minutes of my life. Because I held my hands up and I tried to punch and as punches hit me my neck snapped back and before I knew it I was being pummeled. And it was a very interesting learning experience, but a bit painful.

Fast forward 20 years later. I and my children are in an arcade and there’s a boxing little game. You put your quarters in, you pick up the gloves, and out on this screen comes this big threatening guy. And it’s so real. It’s a boxing simulator. It’s so real, because when you punch him oh, he grunts. And if you block a punch, you hear it. And I put on the gloves, I put my quarters in, I started punching and I was getting a workout, I was sweating. It was an incredibly real, live situation. And then I put the gloves down and I spent the rest of the day with my children.

The interesting part was no headache, no bruises, no swollen jaw. And then I realized something very important. When we go about this thing called life, we have to be very engaged and very active, but we have to understand that it’s a boxing simulator. The guy in front of me — I have to duck, I have to punch, I have to go through the motions, but I have to recognize he cannot hurt me. There’s nothing that he can do to harm me. I have to act in the ways of the world, but I have to recognize he’s not a threat. Hashem wants me to punch, Hashem wants me to duck, Hashem wants me to go through the motions. But I have to recognize that he cannot harm me, he cannot help me. He is but a mirage. Hashem is behind every scene. That understanding that I have to be very active and yet recognize that no human being can harm me is the basis of our emunah (belief) system.

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