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Rabbi's Blog

rabbi 05 smallsf badge lgRabbi Joel Landau  (rabbi@adathisraelsf.org) has been the Rabbi of Adath Israel since May 2013. He was ordained by the Chief Rabbinate in Jerusalem and has served previously as a congregational Rabbi in Charleston, South Carolina and Irvine, California. A full biography of Rabbi Landau is available here.


Steph Curry & Shavuot

A good friend of mine, Rabbi Daniel Cohen of Congregation Agudath Sholom in Stamford, Connecticut, pointed out that we Bay Area residents have a great role model in NBA star Steph Curry, especially with regards to the upcomming holiday of Shavuot.

You may be asking yourself, what does Steph Curry have to do with Shavuot?!

Rabbi Cohen explained that Curry’s work ethic offers a window into one of the most important messages of the holiday of Shavuot:

The name of the holiday, translated as ‘weeks’ does not describe the seminal event of the revelation of the Torah; it focuses on the build up to the day. There is no holiness without preparation. We cannot simply celebrate the gift of the Torah without the daily dedication to be worthy recipients. An Olympian prepares years for one moment of glory. In the spiritual realm, if we truly want to grow and embrace the Torah as a living guide for life, we must develop habits of spiritual growth each and every day.

Shavuot is not a one-day, climactic event; it’s a culmination of prior dedication and devotion that expresses itself day in and day out.

So what does this have to do with Steph Curry?

In the world of basketball, Steph Curry reflects this ideal. His success did not happen overnight. Alan Klein, one of most esteemed strength and conditioning coach in the basketball world, remembers Steph at 16 when he worked with him as part of the first ever Kobe Bryant Nike Skills Academy. He writes, ‘The least recognized player there was Stephen Curry, but I knew immediately that he was the most impressive and that thinking long term, he was going to be a future NBA superstar, and here’s how I knew that: it was all because of his work habits.

When most players were still in their flip flops, Stephen Curry had already started doing some form shooting. By the time the workout officially started he’d probably already made 100-150 shots, almost in a full sweat. He made sure that he had perfect foot work, he made sure he had perfect shooting form. If he did anything and it wasn’t perfect, he did it over again, and he didn’t need a coach to tell him, he just did it.

The moral of that story is that success is not an accident; success is actually a choice. Stephen Curry is one of the best shooters on the planet today because he has made the choice to create great habits.'

Klein concludes by asking:

Are the habits that you have today on par with the dreams you have for tomorrow. That’s something you need to ask yourself every single day. Because whatever you do on a regular basis today will determine where you will be tomorrow.

What are we doing today and every day spiritually to determine our tomorrow? Try this exercise: on one side of paper, write down your goals. On the other side, write down all the things that you do on a daily basis- brush your teeth, go to work, prepare supper. If the things you are doing everyday are not leading you to the goals on the other side of the paper, take a lesson from Steph! Develop holy habits. Success is not an accident; it’s a daily choice.