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July 11, 2016 11:54 am

Israeli NBA Player Prays on Facebook; Expresses Gratitude for Blessings, Teachings of Jerusalem Rabbi

avatar by Ruthie Blum

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Israeli NBA player Omri Casspi in prayer. Photo: Facebook.

Israeli NBA player Omri Casspi in prayer. Photo: Facebook.

Basketball star Omri Casspi posted a photo on Facebook in which he is engaged in Jewish prayer, wearing tefillin (phylacteries) and a tallit (prayer shawl).

Next to the post, Casspi, a native Israeli who plays for the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, wrote:

A few days ago, I had the privilege of meeting Rabbi Yaakov Addes, a righteous, pure man. We spoke about the privilege of tefillin, Shabbat, kashrut, humility, values, manners and other things. How much I learned from this humble man, who prays for the people of Israel without ever uttering a bad word. When I asked how the rabbi maintains his modesty despite his great genius for the Torah, he replied: “I know how much greater were my masters before me,” stressing that there is always much more to study and learn, and greater distances to progress. It is certain that everyone can interpret this in his own way.

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I am thankful every morning for what I have and for what I don’t, and certainly for the privilege to learn from such amazing people.

Rabbi Addes, is a Jerusalem-based Torah scholar, whose 32-volume interpretation of the bible is called Divrei Yaakov. He is also the author of more than 40 biographies of Jewish sages.

Born in Holon and raised in Yavne, Casspi – who is 6’9”– became the first Israeli to be selected in the first round of an NBA draft in 2009, and the first Israeli to play in an NBA game. The 28-year-old also plays for the Israel National Basketball team in international competitions and was the team captain at the 2015 European Championship. Last month, he married Israeli girlfriend Shani Ruderman.

Within a few hours, his Facebook post garnered more than 7,300 likes.

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