I confess. Although my grandparents were born in this country, I never got into following baseball. I'm not sure how I missed such a remarkable national pastime, but as we approach the month of Elul, a month of introspection, self-improvement and hope, I know that I can do teshuva (repent).

Last night I went to a baseball game. It was Jewish Heritage Night at AT&T Park. Can't wait for the Barry Bonds Bar... maybe this time they'll make it KosherThat's when they get baseball fans to take a look at Jewish Heritage, and Jewish fans, like myself, to take a look at baseball.

The event was almost historic. Barry Bonds (he's a baseball player) broke the world record for home run hits1. You know, Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron. (Can't wait for the Barry Bonds Bar; maybe this time they'll make it Kosher.)

And a beauty it was! Over right field, over the spectators and SPLASH(!) into McCovey Cove. And there was, in a way, an even more special home run that night. Matt Cain, the pitcher (that's the guy who throws the ball to the batters – pitchers do not usually hit the ball so well, and Matt is no exception) hit his first home run. It was special.

Let's take a look at this phenomenon called a home run. You do have to know something about baseball to understand this, so pay attention. (If you are a real expert, you may want to skip on to the next paragraph.) The game is played on a diamond shaped field. The diamond starts at home plate, then goes to first, second, and third base. Finally, from third base you go back home, thus completing the diamond. Around the diamond you have the outfield. One team, the defense, is standing all around the diamond, and in outfield waiting for the ball. If they catch it, the batter is out. If they don't catch it, they can throw it back to the diamond to try to get the batter (who is now running the bases) out. This just about completes my knowledge of the game.

Then there is the home run. If the batter hits the ball beyond the outfield—in other words, entirely out of the baseball field—it is a home run. This is a good thing. He then gets to run all the bases and bring himself (and any other batters that were on base) back home.

Normally, the athlete is trying to get a ball into a particular place - but not out As sports go, the home run is somewhat of an exception. Normally, the athlete is trying to get a ball or his self into a particular place, but not beyond. Basketball into the hoop, football into the end zone and hockey into the goal. If the ball veers beyond the boundary, it is called foul or out of bounds. That is not a good thing. In fact, all sports (baseball included) have boundaries in which the game played. But this home run goes beyond the set boundaries. It soars over the playing field, and further, to a place where the other team can have no effect.

There is a Chassidic aphorism known as L'chatchila Ariber. More than a saying, it is a way of life. The fourth Chabad Rebbe, Rabbi Shmuel, put it this way:

"The world says that if you cannot bend down and pass under an obstacle, then you have no choice but to leap over it. However, I say L'chatchila Ariber! I say, do not even try to bend down and pass under it; always leap over it."

Often times, life seems to proffer various boundaries and obstacles. Signs, lines, people and society tell us what to do, how to do and where to do. For example, society may ask: "Judaism at a baseball game?" No way! Judaism has its own box, called a synagogue, or if you wish, your own house. But bringing Judaism, and a message of Judaism, to the world at large? Right at the heart of American culture? You would have to be crazy!

And thank G‑d, Rabbi Yosef Langer is. After all, he's the Rally Rabbi and emissary of the Rebbe to S. Francisco, California. An important quest for an emissary of the Rebbe is how to bring Judaism to the people. And so Jewish Heritage Night at AT&T Park was born. Complete, with Jewish Pride, Hebrew smiles and brotherhood. Jewish Heritage Night at AT&T Park is Rabbi Langer's home run hit—perhaps the most spectacular home run of the night.

This home run soared over the boundaries of society, it flew above the norms of Judaism. And it too brought a message of happiness, goodness and kindness to the world. It raised Jewish awareness at the most visceral level, to allow Jewish people to feel good that they are Jewish. It knocked Jewish identity out of the park, to a place where no other team can touch it.

Even the smallest move to bring G‑dliness into the world is a home run hit. After all, the boundaries of the world cannot contain the Infinite Light of G‑d. And a Mitzvah soars over those boundaries and limitations and connects our finite "playing field" with the Infinite.

Rabbi Langer's Heimishe Home Run broke through the boundaries of our exile, and G‑d willing very soon, will allow our entire team to trot triumphantly home.

What is your home run going to be? Remember, we are trying to break a world record.