Monthly Archives: February 2011

Nascar’s Tabernacle Connection

The Mishkan (Tabernacle) was the portable prayer space the Israelites used for worship in the dessert.  The torah gives exact measurements for materials to be used, what should go inside it and where.  However, I always imagined the Mishkan to be something of a vehicle that the Israelites drove around.  Whether or not that meant wheels I’m not so sure, but it might easier to think of the Mishkan as not just any car, but a NASCAR racecar.

Here are some factoids taken from this week’s Parsha, Vayakheil:

a) Moses asked the Israelites to contribute all sorts of goods- blue, purple, scarlet and fine linen; ram’s skin died red, sealskins, goats hair. They all seem a bit random, but these are in effect not just donations but sponsorships.  The Israelites who donate these particular items are endorsing the product, aka the Mishkan.

b) The Mishkan, as we know from before, is a portable ark.  There are pit stops along the way, where “oil changes” take place quite literally (oil was used for anointing the light).

c) The tires (or those carrying the mishkan) would be rotated on occasion.

Yesterday I watched the Daytona 500, dvr-ed a few hours earlier so I could skip commercials and most of the boring moments. At the end of the day, Trevor Bayne, riding in his second nascar race ever, won the the Daytona 500.  Sponsors had yet to offer him a full year contract to drive for NASCAR.  Looking at his throwback #21 car, I know that the adornments on the car, while important, don’t win you the race.  The same goes for the Mishkan.  For in retrospect, while the Israelites gave an excessive amount of donations, the Mishkan would not function without the nuts and bolts assembled by its artisan Betzalel.  And what was the foundation on which the Mishkan was built? Wood.  How ironic, then, that the 20-yr old Bayne had a foundation of his own named Wood Brothers Racing.  For in NASCAR, as in life, its all about the team effort- the sponsorships, the endorsements, the nuts and bolts, the sure foundation.


Aaron Rodgers Parshat Titzaveh and our civic responsibilities

Before this week’s Monday morning quarterback, a quick shout out to a lovely article about the Jewish history of the AFL.  A second shout out to Brad Wolff, who makes me wish there was blogging when I was growing up!!

The Babylonian Talmud, Baba Batra 12b states: “R. Johanan said: Since the Temple was destroyed, prophecy has been taken from prophets and given to fools and children.” Where does prophecy lie today, in a world filled with gambling on anything from Barack Obama’s tie color to the length of Christina Aguilera’s reconstructed/deconstructed national anthem?  If we are to find connections with the parsha and the world of sports, in most cases this must take place following the sports events in question, lest this site be used as a good luck charm for gambling.   That being said, lets take a look at this week’s torah portion in light of our superbowl outcome:

Tetzaveh talks for the most part about the vestments of the priests. Since I don’t remember clergy being invited to participate in the game, we must delve deeper to find the connections this week.  The head priest, of course, is Aaron, who represented the 12 tribes.  Aaron, #12. hmm….

The priests wore robes signifying their high rank as well as a breastplate to remind the priests of whom they represented.  As a side note, this image of long cape/robe and breastplate came to life in the form of the #1 Superbowl commerical this year.

“If we are to find connections with the parsha and the world of sports, in most cases this must take place following the sports events in question.” It is easy to make connections in the aftermath and say, “I knew that would happen” but much more difficult to find connections to the NFL in a text written long before Brett favre’s game’s streak began, long before Rooney’s rule or even Rabbi’s rule.  Lets look to next year to see why these connections are so difficult to make.

1) Rams.  In the parsha, we sacrifice Rams.  Looking at the schedule, the Rams have some tough opponents:


Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, New Orleans Saints, Baltimore Ravens and the Cincinnati Bengals.


Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Green Bay Packers, Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers

That’s a lot of options. The fact that two Rams are sacrificed means it may in fact be a divisional foe we are talking about.  We’ll see who stands up to the test.

2) Jason Priestley.  Star of 90210.  The original premise of the show had the Walsh family come to Los Angeles from Minneapolis, MN.  With no roof on their Metrodome, the Vikings could be looking to make a permanent trip to LA as well.

3) The TBD factor.  A lockout makes all of this utter nonsense.  The other major hurdle is the status of free-agent linebacker Keith Bulluck.  It was not only two rams that were sacrificed, but one young Bullock (Exodus 24:1).  If the Giants “sacrifice” Bulluck and let him go free, they become an instant title contender.

4) Colors.  The Priestly Team colors.  In describing the color palette for the priestly garments, we can see that a few colors emerge as favorites.  The robe as described before was woven from one kind of thread only; the color blue was the same as was found on the fringes (tzitzit).  In modern times, however, we are unclear where this dye came from.  If the color was more teal, the Jaguars might be thrilled at their chances next year.  Royal blue, honolulu blue, light blue, powder blue etc may give us a different favorite team for next season.  Thanks by the way to the website Colorwerx for information regarding all the team colors.

What about the other color favorites? Two other favorites are gold and purple. Sound familiar? The Vikings have less pressure without Favre, but then again are they the only gold and purple team? The Ravens fit the description as well! So how can we decide between Vikings and Ravens?  Ravens could sacrifice the Rams this season, but the Vikings are a team that has no roof over its head and is on its own exodus from Minnesota to the warmth of Los Angeles, a-la- Jason Priestley.

As you can see, it’s a lot easier to think of the parasha as “Aaron’s” and call it a day.  I know Mr. Rodgers would think you’re more in his neighborhood of thinking.  Plus he could never be convinced that somehow the Vikings are the Superbowl pick for this blogger.  Go Packers.