From Fans to Players
This past Shabbat, a person I didnt recognize walked into my shul.
I went over to him as I try to do to all the guests and
said Shabbat shalom and welcome to Herziliya. My name is Shmuel
Sackett, where are you visiting from?
His answer stunned me. You are Shmuel Sackett? Wow! My wife and
I read all your articles and are your biggest fans!
I immediately answered the following: My dear friend. Thanks for
the compliment but, with all due respect, Im not looking for fans
Im looking for people to join me on the team!
I later explained what I meant.
A fan is someone who watches from the sidelines. He/she cheers
whats going on and gets happy when things go right. On the other
hand, when things go wrong, the fan becomes angry, upset and depressed.
I have been to dozens of sporting events and am always amazed at how
cheerful everyone is
when the team is doing well. People with whom
you would never look at, are hugging you when the hometown favorite does
I was once at an NFL game and this beer-drinking, shirtless, tattoo guy,
with about 3 teeth whose every sentence included words we try never
to say was jumping in my arms after our team scored the winning
touchdown. The craziest part about it was that I thought it was perfectly
normal for him to do that! (Weird!)
Compare that reaction, to when the home team loses the game on the last
play. The stadium of 50,000 fans becomes silent and everyone walks to
their car frustrated, with bent heads and gloomy faces. Thats what
happens when people are fans.
Lets consider now how a player reacts.
A player is someone who is in the game. He is on the field
and actively involved in doing what he can to win. He runs around, gets
dirty and even risks injury as he puts everything he has into playing
the game. When things are going well, he is happy because he knows
he is part of that success.
But when things are not going well, he does not get depressed or angry
because that doesnt help the situation. He talks to his coaches
and teammates. He thinks of a new plan and strategy, and he works harder
than ever to turn things around in order to emerge victorious. If he loses
the game, he sits down and figures out what went wrong. In the coming
days, he puts in a tremendous amount of effort so that the outcome of
the next game will be different.
In short, a player does not watch the game
This is the message I gave the young man who reads my articles and is
my biggest fan. Dont be a fan, I told him. Get
on the field and help me play the game!
So much is happening in the Jewish world today and we cannot simply be
spectators. Eretz Yisrael is growing and you need to be a part of that!
Are you familiar with how Israel looked just 40 years ago? I studied
in BMT (a Yeshiva in Jerusalem) in 1979 and the country looked like an
American town from the 1800s. Very few people had telephones or
cars. The busses were old, hot and bounced on every rock. There werent
nice coffee shops or shopping malls. No homes had air conditioners or
and this was just 44 years ago!
Since then, in just 4 decades, Israel has flourished and has become a
modern, hi-tech, amazing country with every modern convenience imaginable.
If that is what happened in the last 40 years
do you realize what
can be accomplished in the next 40?
Dearest friends; Eretz Yisrael and the Jewish nation are calling you,
but we need you in the land
not in the bleachers cheering and waving
a flag. We want you as a player in Jewish history
not as a fan studying
about this in books. Come join us on the field and lets win this
game, once and for all!
Reprinted from JewishPress.com (23 Tammuz 5783 July 11, 2023)
Shmuel Sackett is a religious Zionist leader, who co-founded both the
Zo Artzeinu and Manhigut Yehudit political movements in Israel. During
the 1990s, Zo Artzeinu opposed the Oslo Accords through civil disobedience.
In 1998, Sackett co-founded Manhigut Yehudit with long-time partner Moshe
Sackett is currently the founder and director of the Am Yisrael Chai Foundation.