A Jew’s strength does not come from his body.
And Hakoah-Vienna, a Zionistic, all-Jewish soccer club that won Austria’s National Championship in 1924-25, is proof.
The founder of Hakoah, HaKoach, “the strength,” was murdered in Auschwitz and penned these words in Buchenwald: wir wollen trotzdem Ja zum Leben sagen, “we nevertheless shall say “yes” to life.”
Jews never worshipped the body. Indeed, the holiest day of the year, Yom Kippur, is all about removing oneself from physical needs and refraining from all bodily pleasures.
We fast, don’t wear leather shoes, don’t bathe or beauty, do not have intimate relations, do not work, all based on the verse that states: It is a Sabbath of rest for you, and you shall afflict yourselves. It is an eternal statute.
Sacredness and holiness is directly collated to afflicting the body and removing it from materialism.
Hakoah, the secret to true koach, lies in the final three words of Rashi’s Torah commentary: יישר כחך ששברת, “strength to you for breaking them!”
Yashar kochacha sheshabarta, strength is found not in what you can fix, but in what you are willing to break. As Yom Kippur and Yizkor demonstrate.