The Ultimate Bracket: Mascot Edition
On a somewhat side note, this week we read a double torah portion, Vayakhel Pikudei, which highlights the giving of donations for the construction of the Tabernacle. Skilled artisans were then hired to use these gifts to enhance the space, the bible’s version of an HGTV show Design to Pray or Bang for Your Brakha. The Israelites gave and gave and gave some more. This may have been done out of guilt for the sin of the Golden calf, but I would argue that the Israelites saw the importance of giving in order to enhance the community. They gave to the pool voluntarily and graciously.
In a season known as March Madness, we often have those office pools where we pool our money to see who can guess who is this year’s VCU or Butler University. What would happen if half of the pool went to charity. Or better yet, if we spent the money on a different pool entirely in order to enhance our work spaces, our community spaces, our worship spaces. Yes, you still have time to contribute according to the IRS (at least to your IRA accounts), but God forbid we give for the sake of giving and not for a tax write off!
Just a thought.
While I normally do not participate in March Madness office pools myself, I still fill out a few brackets. ESPN gives your account 10 or so brackets to fill out, so one is always a bit quirky each year- head to head matchups are decided by overall record, alphabetically, or even by school population. I even have a colleague who picks based upon how Jewish the team might be (players, coaches, alumni base). My favorite, however, is the mascot bracket- each matchup is chosen based upon who would win in a fight.
This week also happens to be Shabbat Parah, referring to the Red Heifer sacrificed in the Temple so that those who were unpure could eat the Passover sacrifice. I was lucky enough to attend a High School (known as New Jew at the time) that had Red Heifer as its mascot (I still say we should have picked “Pioneers” as the mascot). It was always a great conversation starter with other teams when they asked what our mascot was. Very intimidating to say the least. Here’s my mascot bracket on ESPN: (it will be viewable after the 1st set of games)