"You must pass the ball to each other," Mr. Gibson said. "If you want your team to win, you all need to work together, if you just try to run down with the ball and play your own game then your team will lose."

Ben's team was in the middle of the first game of the interschool competition and they had a new coach. They all stood huddled around him at halftime, listening to his words of wisdom and inspiration intended to keep them going through the second half and carry them through to a win.

"It doesn't sound as if he cares whether we win or lose," Ben said to David as they jogged out to the field. "All he says is, 'if you do this you will win, if you do that you will lose.' It's all 'if you,' 'if you.'"

"Instead of telling us that we will lose, it would be nice if he would encourage us...""Yeah," David said. "Instead of telling us that we will lose, it would be nice if he would encourage us to play well in a positive way."

"It's like this week's Torah reading," Ben said. "The reading starts with the words 'If you follow My laws.' We had a long discussion in class about the word 'if.' Does it mean 'if,' or does it mean 'please'"?

"What's the difference?" David asked as they waited for the whistle to blow.

"Well, this little word," Ben explained, "changes the whole meaning of the verse. It could make G‑d sound as if He doesn't really care whether we win or lose, and all He is saying is 'if you keep the mitzvot you will be blessed.' Or, it could be a passionate plea from G‑d that we should keep the mitzvot and learn Torah, and consequently we will be blessed."

"So," David said, "what did you decide, does G‑d care if we do the mitzvot?"

"The Talmud says," Ben explained "that G‑d is pleading with us to do the mitzvot. G‑d wants us to live a life filled with positive things. He wants us to study Torah and do the mitzvot, such as being kind to each other and kind to our parents, to our brothers and sisters and being good to a lonely person, and like Shabbat and kosher and so on."

"Wow! Pleading with us! That's amazing," said David.

"Yeah," said Ben. "But most importantly He wants us to win the game!"

"Remember to pass…!" David yelled as he ran for the ball...