We are taught that everything one sees or hears contains a lesson for us in our divine service. What can the Olympics, now in progress in Rio, teach us about Shabbat Nachamu, about consolation, about our relationship with humanity, about our relationship with G-d?
What can a gold medal teach us about a gold standard?
The theme of Shabbat Nachamu is comfort and consolation after pain and destruction. And the gold standard in comforting someone is genuine caring.
Genuine care is far less common than its opposite: pretending to care, putting on a mask of concern, plating over a base metal with gold. Genuine caring is connecting with the source of gold and working toward being gold through and through.
Going for the gold in the Olympics serves to teach us three lessons: 1) pure, not plated, gold, is the standard; 2) it takes a lifetime of practice to perform for a few minutes; 3) a millisecond can make the difference between winning gold and going home empty-handed.