Madonna the singer who asked us to “strike a pose” in Vogue, the one who claims to study Kabbalah, will perform the halftime show for Superbowl Sunday.
The other day in my mid-week afternoon Hebrew school class, one boy, after feeling triumphant for correctly reading and translating some Hebrew vocabulary on the whiteboard, struck a kneeling pose ala Denver Broncos Quarterback Tim Tebow.
It seems like spirituality and sports are teaming up more and more. Which I find ironic, because inside houses of worship, my synagogue included, worshippers are becoming more sparse with each passing year. One main reason? Attending religious services on a Saturday or Sunday morning is going head-to-head with scheduled team sports.
I know Tebowing is all the rage these days. Blogger Keith Brown had a recent post showing people Tebowing around the world. Tebowing at the Wall of China. And at the Vatican. And the Western Wall in Jerusalem! Getting down on one knee is hardly striking a Jewish pose of prayer. For one to really strike a pose of piety in Judaism, one needs to look like this:
Yes, it takes a bit longer to put on Tefilin than kneel on one knee.
So, is it okay to pray for one’s team? Does God really care who wins?
In today’s article in New York Blueprint, a website that chronicles events and happenings in the New York Jewish community, rabbis sounded off on the issue of praying for a sports team. While some said that any prayer is important if it is for something you believe in, other rabbis said prayer should be saved for something that has a real consequence.
Many churches and synagogues will open their doors this weekend not only for services, but for people to gather and watch the game. Perhaps, any draw that brings people into a house of worship may ease the way for that sports fan to renew their involvement with their congregation.
Aside from praying for one’s team to win, let’s pick some real reasons to pray:
Let’s pray that no players sustain concussions, broken bones, or life-threatening injuries on the field.
Let’s pray that everyone coming home from a Superbowl Party drives home sober.
For me, my world will keep spinning no matter which team wins. Instead, I will pray for several of my friends, all moms of young children, who are battling cancer.
I will also pray for the safety, and mere existence, of Israel.
I had a troubled sleep last night after watching the news that, fearing for its own existence, Israel is gearing up for a military strike against Iran this spring. They fear it might be too late to stop Iran from building a nuclear bomb.
Israel, staring down into the abyss of another Holocaust, is tired of waiting for sanctions to work. Israel cannot wait for the world to act.
So, I will be praying that somehow, a peaceful intervention will put an end to Iran’s nuclear ambitions for good; and that no nation will have the capacity – or the will – to wish to wipe another country “off the map.”