"From Moshe till Moshe, there arose none like Moshe." (famous Jewish folk saying)

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Keeping things in perspective

The Red Sox beat the Yankees. Yes, it is an exciting time for those of us in Red Sox Nation. I have waited many years to finally see this happen. I have vivid memories from my childhood, when the Red Sox were oh, so close including 75, 78, 86, 2003. Growing up a Red Sox fan meant having to endure the diatribes of Yankee fans when we would go to summer camp, trips and away to Grossinger’s for Passover. Yankee fans were relentless and when invoking 86 years of history, they were mean. I am not sure if the greatest vindication for a Sox fan is that the Sox came back to win in historic fashion or if the Yankees lost and choked in even greater historic fashion. We still have 3 games left to win and as a Sox fan, you know that the game is not over until that fat lady sings. Who is that fat lady anyway? She must have great self-esteem! Anyway, I will certainly not celebrate (completely) until the last strike and that long waited, last out. Things can take a turn very fast, and I like to tell my son; there is a lot of game left to be played.
But why the rivalry, why all the years of denigration and nastiness?
My grandfather and his brother used to share a story with us that he had heard from his hometown Rav, Rabbi Osher Kahn many years ago. Rabbi Kahn used to tell the story of envy. He would say that envy is healthy and can be used for good. You can envy someone’s scholarship; you can envy someone’s good fortune. If this envy makes you want to learn more and achieve more, you can take this negative character trait and use it to motivate yourself. But then Rabbi Kahn would relate the following story: There was once a farmer. This farmer did very well. He had a good crop and was reasonably successful at his trade. One day a wealthy man came to him. The wealthy man offered the farmer a deal. He said, if you want one million dollars, I’ll give you a million dollars. If you want another 1000 acres of land, I’ll give you another 1000 acres. But there is one condition. The rich man then related his one condition. He said to the farmer, what ever you want, what ever you request, just know that what ever I give to you, I will give your competitor up the street, DOUBLE! If you ask for a million dollars, I’ll be giving him two million. If you ask for another 1000 acres, I'll be giving your competitor 2000 acres. The farmer thought for a moment and responded to the wealthy man, “poke out one of my eyes!” This Rabbi Kahn said is real envy. It’s not that you want it. That is normal and human nature. It’s that you don’t want the other guy to have it. That is wrong. That is envy. Yankee fans are full of bad envy. After all these years as Sox fans we may have some bad envy in us as well. It’s negative and unhealthy energy, even if it is fun. Yankees lost and Yes, we can chant Yankees SUCK! OK, I’m guilty and at least for now, it feels good. But we have to move on because healthy envy will better serve the Sox in their next triumph.
My wife’s family is originally from St. Louis, so now we have a real family conflict. I have no conflict! But my son, the mentch and his great-grandfather solved the conflict in the following way. In a discussion before the series (ironically, they had the same discussion before the Patriots-Rams Super Bowl two years ago) my son said, “if the Cardinals win, I’d be happy for you.” His great-grandfather responded, “and if the Red Sox win I’ll be happy for you!” After the Pat's won the super bowl, Grampa (a Rams fan) called our son and said, “We, won!” May the best (Red Sox) team win.

I STILL love you!
I love your writing too!
Thinking about you...
A wonderful post about a subject close to my heart. I wrote about asimilar subject a couple of days ago, but I think you captured the essense. Thanks.

Go Sox!


The whole sports thing is utter nonsense - the pastime of retarded children and grown up morons. Grow up Moishe.
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