What Jews (and all of us) can learn from the Super Bowl

This offering by Rabbi Sholom Rodal of Chabad Mount Olympus was so brilliant that I felt it deserved sharing.


Weekly Inspiration


Rabbi’s Spin on the Super Bowl
Super Bowl Sunday is just around the corner.

Whether you’re a casual fan, a football aficionado, an armchair quarterback, or a diehard devotee, you’ve probably already chosen which team you’ll be rooting for.

Many of us who watch from the sidelines think that football players are mainly brawn, but more goes into a player than brute strength. Speed, hand-and-eye coordination, agility, brain power, teamwork, and a willingness to get bashed up if you’re on the front line, are a few of the qualities of this all-American sport.

In keeping with the teaching of the Baal Shem Tov that everything we see and hear is a lesson for us in our Divine service, let’s peruse just a few aspects of football and a couple of the rules, to see what we can learn from the game.

Close to 120 million people tune in every year to watch at least part of football’s championship game. But why?!

Compare that with the approximately 15 million who tune in to your average World Series game-the difference is pretty stark, and certainly not reflective of the fan base of the respective sports.

The reason? A single winner-take-all game is much more exciting and important than a seven-game series. No one game of the series that determines the basketball, baseball, or hockey champion is as consequential as the Super Bowl. So your team lost one? No reason to panic, there will be another game…

The Super Bowl is also more interesting because anything can happen in a single game. This gives the weaker team a better chance of winning; the outcome is less predictable.

So where am I going with all this?

Every day we have different struggles; we’re always facing one sort of contest or another. How important is it to be victorious? So you want to skip that one obligation..you want to post that unkind comment on social media..you want to bypass that important Jewish ritual that your Bubby used to do…or you want to take a pass on doing that favor for another… Is it a big deal? Tomorrow you’ll get it right!

I guess it depends whether you view each struggle as part of a series, or a Super Bowl. If every moment is a Super Bowl then every victory is HUGE!

And if you’re in Super Bowl mode, you get another advantage: in any one game, anything can happen. You can win even if you think you might be outmatched in this particular area!

And one more thing to think about:

You have to keep your eye on the ball at all times. Keeping your eye on the ball means being aware of one’s lifetime goal as an individual and the Jewish people’s goal as a nation. As individuals, we each have our specific G-d-given mission in life and it is our responsibility to accomplish this mission.

In football, and all sports, there are players and spectators. If you’re a spectator and the game is tough, you can get up and leave before the end. The players always has to stay on the field until the very last play. If we all see ourselves as players in our role as Jews, then before we know it, we’ll merit to be a part of the great historic event–and we don’t mean Superbowl Sunday!

So whether you are rooting for the 49ers or the Chiefs, we wish you a winning Shabbat

Shabbat Shalom & Chodesh Tov!

— Rabbi Sholom Rodal, Chabad of Mount Olympus in Los Angeles

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