Section:  Avodah   Category: Innocent Observations
Dressing Up For The Big Game

Rav Shimon Schwab had the great zechus of meeting the Chofetz Chaim. For him it was one of the memorable highlights of his life. He would often look at people and then them "look at the eyes that looked at the Chofetz Chaim." He felt his eyes were imbued with Kedusha becasue they had see the Chofetz Chaim, and that somehow that kedusha can be transferred to those who look at his eyes.

In Mussaf of Yom Kippur after the end of the Avodah of the Kohein Gadol we sing the beautiful piyut of Mareh Kohen, where we describe is majestical terms the radiance of seeing the Kohen Gadol on Yom Kippur. Ashrei Ayin Roasa Eileh, fortunate is the one who merited to see all this, says the Machzor. Fortunate are the eyes that have been imbued with the kedusha of these sights.

In this week's parsha (Parshas Titzaveh) the Torah describes the eight garments of the Kohein Gadol. These weren't ordinary garments. These begadim had the power to be Michaper on eight of the worst aveiros a person can commit, including all three aveiros chamuros as well as some of the worst character traits. They had a certain magic, a certain kedusha. Just by watching the Kohein in his avodah you became a different person.

How can eyes that are trained from youth for Torah and tahara relish watching a group of men dress up in "their" special uniforms as they prepare to fight each other like human beasts? What place does a Jew have among the tens of thousands of fanatical fans screaming like loonies cheering for one group or the other? How can a nation that Hashem chose as the Am Segula spend a few hours the same way as millions of people, glued to a television praying with every fiber of their being that their team comes out on top? Does it make any sense?

It is said in the name of great gadol that organized sports in America is pure Chesed of Hashem. In past generation the bored mobs would use us Jews as their sport. In America our heads and bodies are replaced with all shapes and sizes of balls that are kicked and bashed in our place. The last thing expected of us is to follow the masses it was meant to distract, so that we can live our lives in peace while they get the violence out of their system.

It was always rumored, true or not, to the astonishment of every frum Jew living today, that in Europe many very Frum women, even wives of certain gedolim, did not cover their hair. All those who hear this are dumbstruck. Could it really be? What were they thinking? One day history will look back at our generation and our active participation in professional sports and they will wonder, is it really true? Could it have been acceptable, or at the very least understandable even to Mechanchim, that we also joined the chorus of cheers together with those who hate us?

The Mishna in Yuma (7:2) by the Avodas Yom HaKippurim says that whoever watched the Par and Sa'ir bering burned could not see the Kohein Gadol read the Torah in the Azara. Not because it wasn't permitted by because they were too far away from each other. Watching the big game may or may not be assur (ask your Rov). But it seems likely that whoever watches the game will not watch the Kohein Gadol dress in his Bigdei Kehuna and perform the avodah. As the Mishna says, not because it is assur but because they are simply too far away from each other.