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Superbowl life

Sunday, 1 February, 2015 - 12:53 am

A man was surprised to see an empty seat at the superbowl. He noticed a woman sitting next to the empty seat and made a remark about it to her. She looked at it tearfully and said, "Well, it was my husband's",  "But he died." "Oh my gosh!" He said. "I'm sorry for your loss, but I'm surprised that another friend or family member didn't jump at the chance to take the ticket." "I know", she said. "They all insisted on going to the funeral."

I wish I could say that this story is a joke but the reality is, that it would be better described as an exaggeration. In fact, this phenomenon is something that we, without realizing, use to determine a significant majority of our Schedule and priorities.

Let me ask you; what time to you eat dinner? What do you eat for breakfast? Which website do you go to for news? Now let’s try an experiment: what if you moved dinner a half hour later? Ate chicken for breakfast? Switch which news section you read first? …Feels uncomfortable? Why?
 
Let’s ask ourselves, if we are rational people, how much of our day/work/priorities/schedule are based on rational logic? Actually, very little. Why? Why do we sit for hours and watch grown adults play ball? Why does our coffee always reach the very top of the cup and all other drinks we stop a ¼ inch down? If “we think, therefore we are”, shouldn’t we think therefore we do?
 
Yes, and therefore we don’t.
 
We don’t exist because we think. How do we exist, why do we exist?
 
While we wait for the patriots to come up with an explanation for the deflated footballs and for science to come up with the ingredients that predated and caused the big bang, let’s try another way.
 
Think of a house. Now stop thinking of it. Now think of it again. Which ingredients is this house, which you just made and un-made, made of? How long did it take to make? Nothing and none. What is this universe made of, how is it here? – nothing,,, and I’ll explain.
 
Imagine if on superbowl Sunday, you took the 22 football players and instead of pitting them against each other, you brought them to a huge area or the desert and challenged them to see what they could do. These are the fastest, strongest, farthest-throwing players and in the same 60 minutes of play they could go miles! Making throws that would break records! - - - and it would all be watched by about 3 people on a three am sports special... who would be interested?
 
now, take the same players and put them against each other; each amazing qb has vicious tacklers charging at him, each player has defenders blocking him - and now, an entire country shuts everything down and sits at the end of its seat, so excited..
 
So why is the universe here? There is only one thing in existence that has opposition, challenge suspense - the human being. all of creation is our ball park, we are the players, our challenges (inside and out) are what make it real - and HaShem, the Creator, thinks all of reality into existence just to sit on the edge of Its seat watching every play...
 
So now let’s ask ourselves, Is this rational? What is the priority ratio between drinking a coffee and giving a poor person a dollar? If we realize that we have an audience, that the creator of the universe sits in suspense, feeling fulfilled – thrilled! by each good choice – what choice will we have?
And so, G-d selected the human species and set our mind’s eye to “opaque”. Why do we eat chocolate chip cookies with milk? Why does pasta seem different just because it’s thick or thin or straight or round? Because.
 
The human experience is mired in thoughtless routine, not because we are unimportant, but the opposite: because our suitor is mind-blowing.
 
So what do we do? How do we act, how do we relate? What is the latte we can prepare for G-d, the flowers we can offer that will not give him anything, but connect us?  
 
Let’s go crazy.
 
Not too crazy… just out of the box. Ask yourself, what if I ate chicken for breakfast? What if I, one minute to half time, walked out?!!! What if I gave that time to G-d? -Called a relative [one who is not into sports, otherwise it would be cruelty!]. What if I said Shema then?
 
Think of the effort we would make to be on time for kick off, now, transplant that to Shabbat services. Think of what we would ignore in the final seconds of a decisive game – and act the same way with our kids, with our spouse, with our Torah learning.
 
Our audience is the Creator, our greatest fan. Our task may be a tiny inch: did I say thank you, did I pay the extra .25 for the OU kosher symbol product, did I say shema, did I smile? – but the touchdown, the real touchdown, bringing G-d down here, on earth with us, in our lives, is the score that we, our parents, our ancestors have been scrimmaging for, for all of history.
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