The world is round like a ball.1 The ball, or globe, is given to every Jew, as the Talmud2 tells us that each person should say, “The world was created for my sake.” The purpose of life is to bring the globe into the goal, the “Gate of the King.”

However, it is not in G‑d’s plan that bringing the globe into the “Gate of the King” be accomplished without opposition; on the contrary, there are those who “surround us, ready to destroy us.”\footnote .Passover Haggadah. This implies the existence of an opposing team challenging the Jew at every opportunity. In the same way that the Jew wants to put the “ball” in the “King’s Gate,” so too his adversary has his own plans to put it in the “doorway of Gehinnom (purgatory).”3

However, it is specifically the threat posed by this opponent that charges the Jew with the motivation to win. Chassidic teachings explain that the desire for victory pushes us to reach much deeper within ourselves and discover our hidden potential. Just as a king in wartime empties his treasury in order to win, it is the battle with the adversary that spurs us all to find new abilities.

This type of conduct is evidenced in sports, specifically in soccer, where two teams oppose each other’s efforts to score a goal. Ideally, the players are not primarily motivated by the money they receive (although of course they must be adequately compensated for their training and effort). Rather, it is their personal desire for victory that is the main motivator.

As in sport, in life one cannot move sluggishly. We must keep moving with vitality, running and jumping to overcome the challenge. This type of service is carried out not just with the brain or heart (though thought and emotion are important) but with the action of the feet. Only by means of putting our Jewish learning into vigorous practice can we hope to emerge victorious in our quest to put the globe in the “Gate of the King.”

In mystical thought, the ball represents how our G‑dly activities must encompass every aspect of our being. Aiming for the goal represents jumping directly to the highest levels of spirituality, bypassing the intermediate stages which would be achieved through incremental growth.

Sichos Kodesh of the Rebbe, Shabbos Parshas Shemini, 5740