web analytics
July 12, 2014 / 14 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim's Restaurant in Tiberias Restaurant in Tiberias Enriches Holocaust Survivors’ Wellbeing

The generosity of Mrs. Lee Steinberg of New York helped establish the Meir Panim Free Restaurant in Tiberias.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Gridiron Greatness


Summer’s warmth gives way to autumn’s chill. A new year beckons, not just for Klal Yisrael but also for the game that has become our country’s favorite sport – no, our national obsession: football.

Like everything in the world, football isn’t just a game watched by hundreds of millions – it’s something that can be used as a means of coming closer to Hashem. It instructs us in many yesodos hachaim, fundamentals of life. Indeed, it teaches us many lessons found in the vast corpus of Torah literature.

The importance of every Jew: The quarterback is the team leader. A great one, like Peyton Manning, can lift an otherwise mediocre team like the Indianapolis Colts to greatness, while a bad quarterback can pull his team down. But for a football team to succeed, each of the players on the field must be performing his job properly, even those that seem unimportant.

During the 2002-2003 playoffs, the New York Giants played the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers staged a historic comeback to take a 39-38 lead. With seconds to play the Giants lined up for a game-winning field goal attempt by kicker Matt Bryant. They brought in a new long snapper, Trey Junkin, to snap the ball to the holder. Junkin had just come out of retirement; he’d been a long snapper, perhaps the most insignificant job in football, for 19 seasons. Junkin botched the snap and the field goal was never attempted. Giants coach Jim Fassel called it the worst loss of his life.

We often feel our role as individual Jews is not that significant. But the Gemara tells us each Jew represents a letter in the Torah. Just as a Torah with a missing letter, no matter how insignificant, is invalid, so too Klal Yisrael cannot function properly without each Jew doing his job, no matter how small that may seem. If we are still alive, it is because we have some vital purpose in this world.

Growth in life: Former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback and ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski once gave an important yesod about football and life: “You must pass to score and run to win.”

This means a good offense needs to be balanced so it can score often by completing big pass plays while also being able to matriculate the ball (to borrow a phrase from legendary Kansas City Chiefs coach Hank Stram) downfield in order to keep it away from the other team. Teams that have flashy passing games but don’t run the ball efficiently – such as the 1980′s San Diego Chargers led by quarterback Dan Fouts – can’t win because they gave their opponents too many chances with the ball.

Passing too often is high risk/high reward, negatively impacting a team’s ability to keep possession of the football. On the other hand, if a team runs the ball well but cannot pass for chunks of yardage and make big scoring plays – such as the 2009 New York Jets – it will have a hard timing being better than average because it will not score enough points. In a 16-13 loss to the lowly Buffalo Bills last year, the Jets rushed for a whopping 300 yards but lost because they couldn’t make enough big plays.

One of the most elementary concepts in Judaism is that a Jew must constantly be growing. On some occasions, such as during the Aseres Yemei Teshuvah (Ten Days of Repentance), or when some life-altering event occurs, we grow by leaps and bounds. Often though, growth is about taking small, steady steps toward one’s goals. Someone who only takes great leaps forward often will find himself eventually slipping back into old routines. But if we only take small steps, we never get a chance to make major changes. By taking both paths, we ensure a winning combination of growth in our relationship with Hashem.

The importance of a tzibbur: Joshua Schwager, member of the 1986 national champion Penn State Nittany Lions and now a shomer Torah umitzvos Jew, told my students at Rutgers that the 2007 New York Giants became a great team and won the Super Bowl only after they got rid of Tiki Barber and Jeremy Shockey.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Gridiron Greatness”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
An Islamic Jihadist in Gaza, eliminated by a rocket from an Israeli aircraft.
Hamas’ ‘Operation Death Wish’ vs. Israel’s Protective Edge
Latest Indepth Stories
Lewis-071114-Main

A woman who knows that her family is financially stable is a happy, relaxed mother.

An Iron Dome Missile Battery near Tel Aviv on the first day of Operation Protective Edge, July 8, 2014.

We hit their missiles in mid-air with computer-guided projectiles invented and built by Jews’ between rounds of rigorous scientific education or yeshiva study.

Jonathan S. Tobin is Senior Online Editor of Commentary magazine.

How will all this end? Hamas seems to think it will be Netanyahu who will blink first.

Gilad Shaar (L), Naftali Frenkel (C) and Eyal Yifrach (R) are the three Israeli teenagers whom Arab terrorists kidnapped on June 12, 2014.

There is a major moral distinction that needs to be taken into account when one considers the murders of Israeli teens Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Frankel and the murder of Palestinian teen Muhammad Abu Khdeir. The difference is that the Palestinian Authority has embraced such mass murderers as heroes and Israel punishes all […]

“a groundbreaking shift toward equitable and efficient treatment of our most vulnerable children”

“After all, we must remember that God isn’t our ‘employee.’ He doesn’t always do as we wish.”

Israelis dodge bullets to become leaders in nearly all fields. Palestinians use aid money to build rocket launchers.

Water: a fluid with life-giving force, a thin liquid even a trickle of which can assure survival. Crops, fields, land, people – we all need water. We need water for growth, for purity, for beauty, for subsistence. What do we do when water sources are depleted? We have learned not to behave like the young […]

Jerusalem: The historic and spiritual capital of the State of Israel and the Jewish people.

Immediately end the occupation and declare Israeli sovereignty over the entire Jewish Homeland.

On which planet is Obama living on when making ridiculous pronouncements on the Middle East?

This Is for the Zionists. for a people exiled from their land Time after time after time their crime was their ethnicity and so their history as a people has been filled with blood   With blood and with tyranny, as nations and invading armies uprooted them, looted their homes, took away the songs of […]

Like all patriotic Americans, I cheered implementation of the Bush Doctrine to preemptively protect American lives from the perceived threat of WMD.

In fact, the two suspects were arrested by Israeli authorities – not, as the Times tried artfully to suggest, by Mr. Abbas’s Palestinian Authority.

Formerly an attorney at the prestigious law firm Proskauer Rose for 40 years – six of those years as its chairman – Fagin holds degrees from both Columbia and Harvard Universities. He retired in 2013 to devote more time to the Jewish community.

More Articles from Rabbi Meir Goldberg

Summer’s warmth gives way to autumn’s chill. A new year beckons, not just for Klal Yisrael but also for the game that has become our country’s favorite sport – no, our national obsession: football.

The Stories

1. Josh is a 20-year-old college student who was given a yeshiva education from kindergarten through 12th grade. No doubt his parents spent well over $100,000 for his solid Jewish education. He is involved in Jewish life on campus and attends minyan regularly, though life on campus is a spiritual battle. So when he told me he went to his college football team’s stadium to attend a game on a Shabbos afternoon, I was a little disappointed.

Ah, the sights, sounds and smells of spring. Fathers roasting succulent hot dogs on a flaming grill; children frolicking carefree on the lawn, playing with their little friends; bees buzzing excitedly over their newest source of sweet, golden nectar; ducks quacking incessantly, splashing in a pond; white, puffy, cumulous clouds sailing through the clear blue skies like an armada of misty ships going out to sea.

Forty years ago, the teshuvah movement was in its infancy. Since then, due to the efforts of some determined individuals, the phenomenon has blossomed, positively impacting Jewish communities worldwide. It would be beneficial to take a step back to see where we are today and what the trends are for the future.

    Latest Poll

    Israel's Iron Dome Anti-Missile System:





    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/gridiron-greatness/2010/09/01/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: