Gilad Shalit Reports on the Giants of the NBA

June 11, 2012 4:56 pm 0 comments

Gilad Shalit, soon after arriving in Israel. Photo: IDF.

Gilad Shalit, a lifelong avid sports fan who was held by captive by Hamas for years, is coming to the US to observe the NBA finals between the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder.  He has been sent to the US by Yediot Ahronot, a leading Israeli newspaper, to bring back a report on the championship.

I heard this news during the very week we read Parshas Shelach in Synagogue.  A comparison between the Parsha and Galit is nothing short of eerie.

In the Parsha Moses sent spies to the Land of Canaan. They returned forty days later and reported that the land flowed with milk and honey. The bad news, they said, was that the people were huge, the sons of giants who made them feel like grasshoppers. Were they really giants and were the children of Israel really so small?

David, as he faced Goliath, is certainly depicted as small, albeit extremely athletic. Some Jews certainly are, to put it mildly, diminutive. Dr. Ruth for example is only four foot eight inches tall, only slightly less than some of the senior members of our shul who, even when standing, cannot peep over the mechitzah. I don’t know how tall Gilad is, but after five years captivity in Gaza, he certainly looks anything but robust, to say the least.

The question remains as to whether the people the spies saw were really giants or just scary.  The bible tells us that Goliath was nine feet tall, but the people of Canaan? Unlikely. This is not to deny that giants can exist. The Guinness Book of World Records has as the world’s tallest man, Robert Wadlow at eight feet, eleven inches with Leonid Staknyk only seven inches less.. As to the rest of us, we all seem to be getting taller. Humans in general are 1.9 inches taller than we were in 1900, but very few of us are giants.

If giants exist among us, several of them will certainly be in the NBA playoffs this year. The average height of the players on the Miami Heat is six feet, seven inches.  Unlike poor Leonid Stanyk, who can hardly walk now, the Heat and the Thunder have skilled, agile, fast, gifted athletes on the court, and there will be Gilad Shalit to observe and report to us.

It is difficult to believe that the giants of Nephilin in the land of Canaan were as tall or intimidating as the giants of sport today. In Shelach, the spies from the Children of Israel saw a wonderful country that was inhabited by strong, tall people. Unfortunately they exaggerated, misinterpreted and misrepresented what they had seen. Gilad will do none of these things. This heroic, much loved child of modern Israel, will observe the giants of the NBA, report back accurately and without exaggeration.

I personally look forward to reading what he has to say.

Anthony Rebuck, under the name Shlomo ben Yitzhak haLevi, is the author of “A Sportsman’s Guide to the Torah”. He is a former Professor of Medicine.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Commentary Featured Sports Remembering Myra Kraft on Super Bowl Sunday

    Remembering Myra Kraft on Super Bowl Sunday

    JNS.org – I am a Dallas Cowboys fan still recovering from our playoff defeat at the hands of the Green Bay Packers, or should I say, the instant replay booth. Still, football is like life—not always fair. And even the lead-up to Sunday’s Super Bowl has lacked fairness, as the media is obsessed with deflated footballs. Fans of the sport are not enjoying the sidebar stories that always accompany the lead-up to the big game. When the Patriots and the [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Middle East Hamas Commander Reportedly Urges Hezbollah to Join Forces Against Israel

    Hamas Commander Reportedly Urges Hezbollah to Join Forces Against Israel

    JNS.org – Five months after Israeli forces tried to assassinate Hamas military commander Mohammed Deif in Gaza, Deif appears to have signed a letter that the terrorist group claims he wrote in hiding. The letter, addressed to Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, expressed Deif’s condolences for the death of Hezbollah terrorists during Sunday’s reported Israeli airstrike in Syria. Deif is said to have survived multiple assassination attempts, but he has not been seen in public for years. According to the Hezbollah-linked Al-Manar [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Theater Shlomo Carlebach Musical Has the Soul to Heal Frayed Race Relations

    Shlomo Carlebach Musical Has the Soul to Heal Frayed Race Relations

    JNS.org – The cracks that had been simply painted over for so long began to show in Ferguson, Mo., in November 2014, but in truth they had begun to open wide much earlier—on Saturday, July 13, 2013. That is when a jury in Sanford, Fla., acquitted George Zimmerman of culpability for the death of a 17-year-old black man, Trayvon Martin. The cracks receded from view over time, as other news obscured them. Then came the evening of Aug. 9, 2014, [...]

    Read more →
  • Theater US & Canada ‘Homeland’ Season Finale Stirs Controversy After Comparing Menachem Begin to Taliban Leader

    ‘Homeland’ Season Finale Stirs Controversy After Comparing Menachem Begin to Taliban Leader

    A controversial scene in the season finale of Homeland sparked outrage by comparing former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin to a fictional Taliban leader, the UK’s Daily Mail reported. In the season 4 finale episode, which aired on Dec. 21, CIA black ops director Dar Adal, played by F. Murray Abraham, justifies a deal he made with a Taliban leader by referencing Begin. He makes the remarks in a conversation with former CIA director Saul Berenson, a Jewish character played by Mandy [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Spirituality/Tradition Placing Matisyahu Back Within a Life of Observance

    Placing Matisyahu Back Within a Life of Observance

    Shining Light on Fiction During the North Korea-Sony saga, we learned two important lessons. The first is that there are two sides to this story, and neither of them are correct because ultimately we should have neither inappropriate movies nor dictators. The second is that we cannot remain entirely fixed on the religious world, but we also must see beyond the external, secular view of reality. It’s important to ground our Torah-based thoughts into real-life activism. To view our act [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Nine Decades of Moses at the Movies

    Nine Decades of Moses at the Movies

    JNS.org – Hollywood has had its share of big-budget biblical flops, but until now, the Exodus narrative has not been among them. Studios have brought Moses to the big screen sparingly, but in ways that defined the image and character of Moses for each generation of audiences. The first biblical epic In 1923, director Cecil B. DeMille left it to the American public to decide the subject of his next movie for Paramount. DeMille received a letter from a mechanic [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Exodus on Screen (REVIEW)

    Exodus on Screen (REVIEW)

    JNS.org – The story of the Exodus from Egypt is a tale as old as time itself, to borrow a turn of phrase. It’s retold every Passover, both at the seder table and whenever “The Ten Commandments” is aired on television. But the latest adaptation—Ridley Scott’s epic film, “Exodus: Gods and Kings”—fails to meet expectations. Scott’s “Exodus” alters the source material to service the story and ground the tale, but the attempt to reinvent the biblical narrative becomes laughable. Moses [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Lifestyle ‘Jewish Food Movement’ Comes of Age

    ‘Jewish Food Movement’ Comes of Age

    JNS.org - In December 2007, leaders of the Hazon nonprofit drafted seven-year goals for what they coined as the “Jewish Food Movement,” which has since been characterized by the increased prioritization of healthy eating, sustainable agriculture, and food-related activism in the Jewish community. What do the next seven years hold in store? “One thing I would like to see happen in the next seven years is [regarding] the issue of sugar, soda, and obesity, [seeing] what would it be like to rally the [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.