Monday, July 13, 2009

Monday's Musings on Sports - Judging a book by its cover, an athlete by his performance and treif meat

As regular readers of this blog are aware, the Monday post was usually devoted to sports with highlights and analysis of the Max Kellerman show which formerly aired on 1050 ESPN Radio. As Max has resigned from 1050 and has not yet resurfaced on the NY area radio waves, I have decided to continue the tradition of linking sports to Torah which I believe was an undercurrent of the Max Kellerman show.

As the All-Star game is in St. Louis, I have been thinking about the hometown favorite son - Albert Pujols. Universally regarded as a good guy and tremendous athlete, Pujols lately has been forced to answer questions about performance enhancing drugs, even though he has never tested positive for, and not a single person has come forward to say that Pujols was supplied with drugs. Still, because Pujols has consistently put up solid number year after year, there are always the whispers of drug use, because so many of our heroes have been exposed as users. Pujols adamantly denies his use of steroids, but people continue to whisper.

The Pujols scenario reminds me of a story I recently heard from R' Goldvicht which he said that he confirmed with R' Reuven Feinstein.

The story involves a man who was walking to the subway when he passed a kosher butcher store. The man saw a treif meat truck parked outside the store and the driver was entering the store. As the man watched, the driver entered the store and was allowed to walk behind the counter. Moments later, the driver exited the store with a smile on his face.

The man then called up the Rav Hamachshir for the store and asked him to pull the kosher certification. The Rav asked - did you see the driver take anything into the store? No, was the answer. Did you see him carry anything out of the store? Again, the answer was no. The Rav Hamachshir said - well then I have no reason to take away the hashgacha.

The man was not happy with the attitude of the Rav and decided that he would no longer shop at the store. He also told all of his friends about his decision and the reason he would no longer buy there. Soon, many people stopped buying at the store, although the owner was never told the reason that his customers were not returning.

A number of months later, the store owner died and his family tried to take over the store. However, within two years they realized they could not make the store profitable and the store was closed.

Approximately six months later, the same man was walking outside the now closed store when he saw the treif meat truck parked outside. The man approached the driver and asked why he was there. The driver answered that he had a flat tire and was waiting for AAA. The driver then said - what ever happened to the store that was here? When the man said that it was closed, the driver responded that it was a shame. The driver then related that years earlier his truck had broken down outside the store. He went inside and was greeted warmly by the owner who invited him behind the counter and let him use the phone. The driver said that the owner was a very nice guy and it was a shame the store was gone.

The man became very distressed and approached R' Reuven Feinstein and asked whether there was some way to remedy the situation. He was told that there was no way to get complete teshuva in this world. However, he could take a minyan to the grave of the store owner to ask mechila. Additionally, he could take on the financial support of the widow and children for the rest of his life.

This is the danger of jumping to conclusions and judging people based on outer appearances. While Albert Pujols may not have done anything wrong, he is stuck trying to distance himself from unsubstantiated rumors when there is no proof to the allegations against him. When one views things from the outside without completely investigating the situation, bad assumptions can occur and the repercussions can be terrible.

If you have seen this post being carried on another site such as JBlog, please feel free to click here to find other articles on the kosherbeers blogsite. Hey its free and you can push my counter numbers up.

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