Tuesday, November 1, 2016

In the BIG Inning

The Neshama of Baseball, Part 3

Ari and Rachel
Rachel Margolis is an educator in Chicago and my partner in crime as co-chairs of the Communications Team for the Association of Reform Jewish Educators (ARJE). She and her husband Ari, a rabbi serving Congregation Or Shalom in Vernon Hills, Illinois. Ari and I have never actually met. When Rachel and I get together with our colleagues, he is usually home parenting their three spectacular daughters. But he has weighed in while Rachel and I have texted while watching the Cubs this post-season. He wrote this drash for Parshat Bereshit this past week. Rachel posted it on Facebook and The CCAR Blog picked it up as well. He gave me permission to post it here.



An ode to the intersection of this week's Torah portion, Bereshit, and my beloved Cubs:


In the beginning. . .

There was a team that experienced an abundance of success. They went to the World Series three times in a row. But they fell from grace after two straight championships. Expelled from the Garden of Greatness, they lost their way, squandering opportunity after opportunity. They experienced a deluge of misfortune, a famine of talent and success as they turned away from the land of the World Series, winding up in the bondage of ineptitude. They wandered, searching to find the promised land for 71 years, escaping the oppression of poor management and indifferent ownership, never losing hope.

Suddenly, a new team arose who knew not the Cubs of the past. Together with new ownership, sabermetric analysis, young talent, and innovative management, the long suffering crew has found its way to back to the World Series, standing on the precipice of the promised land.

By next week, we will all know the outcome of this part of our story, yet to be written. But what we do know is that sure enough, a new baseball season will come next Spring with new opportunities for redemption, renewal, and understanding, just as we have opportunities to find the same in our own hearts during this next year of reading our Torah.

Here's hoping that the team that taught me to understand the narratives of our people, always striving to return home to the promised land, will have found their Jerusalem. And whether they do or not, as we say at the end of Passover ... Next year in the World Series!

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