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August 29, 2015 / 14 Elul, 5775
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The Super Narishkeit Bowl

After all, who has time to sit in the dark and watch narishkeit? We have a country to build.
Football Field

Photo Credit: Yori Yanover

Narishkeit means foolishness. It’s something that some people consider important, but which really isn’t important at all. Like the Super Bowl. Such a big deal is made of it! What for? What’s the big deal about watching 20 people running after a pigskin and tackling the poor shmoh who’s got the ball? Narishkeit. Bitul Torah. A total waste of time.

Once again, all I can say is: thank God I live in Israel! Here, if you didn’t click on CNN, you wouldn’t know it was Super Narishkeit Sunday at all. All the hoopla and nonsense surrounding the game simply doesn’t exist here. Who cares? What’s it have to do with the Jewish People. Zero. It’s a pastime of another country. Why should a Jew fill his head with such nonsense?

It’s the same thing with the World Series. In Israel, you wouldn’t know that there is such a thing if you didn’t walk into the dormitory of some yeshiva where American kids are studying. For them, it’s like the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai, but Israelis couldn’t care less. Why should they?

Thank God I live in Israel where all of that nurishkeit doesn’t exist. It’s the same thing with Xmas. Here in Israel, if you didn’t take a wrong turn and end up in Bethlehem, you’d never know it was Xmas. The two month long tidal wave of Xmas jingles, Xmas stockings, Xmas store display, Santa Clauses, and Xmas trees, just doesn’t exist here. Why should it? This is the Jewish Land. The Holy Land. The nurishkeit of the gentiles doesn’t belong here in the Land of the Jews.

Sure, there’s imported Western trash here as well that secular Israelis love to imitate, but it gets swallowed up by the overall holiness of the Land. Just the fact that we don’t have the Super Bowl, the World Series, Xmas, and Groundhogs Day is proof.

The same thing goes with the Academy Awards. It doesn’t exist here. Yes, the morning after on the radio, there’s a mention of the winners at the end of the news, but there’s none of the preoccupation with the gods and goddesses of Hollywood, their see-through dresses and latest affairs. Who cares?

Thank God I live in Israel, the Land of the Jews, and not in a foreign land like America, where the Jews identify with everything foreign and think that things like the Super Bowl and Academy Awards are important, who keep Shabbos, but come Saturday night, unscrew their heads, store them away in the closet for next Shabbos, and put on gentile heads instead so they can go out to the movies and, come Sunday, watch the Game of the Week with its thrilling cheerleader close-ups.

Sure, when I lived in America, I watched the Super Bowl too. And the World Series. And the Academy Awards right to the end. But since I became religious and moved to Israel, I have absolutely zero interest in any of those things. Zero. I honestly can’t even tell you what teams are playing in the Super Bowl. I don’t know who’s won the World Series for the last 30 years, and in the same three decades, I haven’t seen more than five movies (when I gave lectures on screenwriting) and I don’t miss movies at all.

After all, who has time to sit in the dark and watch narishkeit? We have a country to build.

About the Author: Tzvi Fishman was awarded the Israel Ministry of Education Prize for Creativity and Jewish Culture for his novel "Tevye in the Promised Land." A wide selection of his books are available at Amazon.

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9 Responses to “The Super Narishkeit Bowl”

  1. Mildred Bilt says:

    Such a nice man. "Imported Western trash" in Israel? Now who could that be? Such gemutlichkeit, such humility, such acceptance of fellow Jews. These are the traits that really endear Israelis to our hearts. Poisonous hate dripping from a pen has many ugly consequences. But I'm sure you would never consider that your pen was ever a culprit.

  2. Liad Bar-el says:

    Mildred Bilt, your comment against Tzvi is unfounded. Tzvi mentioned “Imported Western trash” to mean a thing, activity, ritual of goyim observance, etc and NOT a Jewish person. In this specific case, Tzvi is referring to the Super Bowl which amounts to foolishness compared to the very important task that all of us Jews have in the world of rebuilding the Holy Land of Israel. As far as I know Tzvi, he has never, is not now and would never speak of any Jew who is from the West in such a manner as being “Imported Western trash”. You are right however, Mildred, that poisonous hate dripping from a pen has many ugly consequences and it is my opinion that it is your pen which is the culprit in this case. Keep up the good work Tzvi.

  3. Tzvi Fishman says:

    Mildred, learn how to read, my dear.

  4. Liad Bar-el says:

    וגר לא-תונה ולא תלחצנו כי-גרים הייתם בארץ מתרים
    “Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 22:20) This law applies not only to a proselyte who converts to Judaism but also to a visitor from another city for he is considered a “foreigner” (ger) in this respect. He is a stranger from another city, who does not know anyone, and is far from his friends and family. (Me’Am Lo’Ez Vol 7, Pg 243). If this law applies to people from another city, (קל וחומר) how much more does this law apply to people from another country.

  5. Liad Bar-el says:

    Really, could this face book format be improved better to accept Hebrew without messing up the format of a simple short talk back message? I'm running Window's 7. What is Face Book running, Window's 95?

  6. Yehuda Cohen says:

    Is there some deep esoteric Kabbalistic reason for using the word Narishkeit and not the more common word Stuyiot?

  7. Mildred Bilt says:

    Reading is not just recognizing words. Reading includes comprehension and divining the intent of the author. I detected a sense of moral snobbery and insult to those who don't think and walk in lock step with the author. The British term is 'down putting'. My dear Tzvi, are you saying you never meant to be insulting?

  8. Mildred Bilt says:

    Reading is not just recognizing words. Reading includes comprehension and divining the intent of the author. I detected a sense of moral snobbery and insult to those who don't think and walk in lock step with the author. The British term is 'down putting'. My dear Tzvi, are you saying you never meant to be insulting?

  9. Gail Hopke says:

    Amen Tzvi!

Comments are closed.

Tzvi Fishman, author of the Jewish Press blog Felafel on Rye and author of more than a dozen books.
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