This week’s Torah Portion Be’Shalach, which will be read this Shabbat morning features the beginnings of Maccabi Tel Aviv. Bnei Yisrael, the Children of Israel leave Egypt and arrive at the Red Sea as Pharaoh and his entire army has a change of heart and chases them down, seemingly cornering them against the water. However, God assures the people and Moses splits the sea allowing Bnei Yisrael to walk through on dry land. Once on the other side, the water crashes down on the Egyptians saving the Children of Israel.
Moses and Bnei Yisrael then sing “Az YaShir”, a song of praise recognizing the salvation afforded to them. One of the most famous phrases in the song is “Mi KaMocha Be’Elim, Hashem” (מי כמוך באלים ה׳) whose acronym spells out the Hebrew word Maccabi (מכבי). The loose translation of the phrase is “Who is like You among the heavenly powers?” Is there any power stronger than God? The answer of course is no. No one can be compared to God; a sign of power and strength.
In 1895 in the city of Constantinople, Jews were not allowed to participate in regular sports clubs and were forced to form one of their own. Using the acronym of Maccabi, the first Jewish Sports Club was formed eventually becoming Maccabi Jaffa in 1906 and then Maccabi Tel Aviv later on in that decade.
Maccabi Tel Aviv fans and supporters worldwide should reflect with pride on being part of this important and auspices moment in the history of the Jewish People and know that with the desire, power and strength we can all succeed both on and off of the field of play.