Monday, February 7, 2011

Monday's Musings on Sports - The Lombardi Trophy, The Aron Kodesh and Rav Moshe

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. Although Max resigned from 1050 more than a year ago (he has recently resurfaced on ESPN Radio in Los Angeles), I have tried to continue the tradition of linking sports to Torah which I believe was an undercurrent of the Max Kellerman show.

Yesterday I did something which I admit to hardly ever doing. While I try to watch the Superbowl every year, I usually turn the TV off after the final gun. For reasons that I cannot completely explain, this year I kept the TV on to see who would be awarded the Superbowl MVP. I was hardly surprised to see that the award was given to Aaron Rodgers. However, while waiting to find out who would win the award, I witnessed the Lombardi Trophy procession. Carried by NFL legend Roger Staubach, the trophy was slowly carried through the throngs of players, coaches and staff until it was on the podium where the Packers' owners and coaches were standing. As the trophy made its way through the crowd, the players reached to touch it or kiss the top of the trophy.

The Lombardi Trophy procession and the absolute awe that the players had in viewing the trophy was different then other championship celebrations in other sports. When a team wins the Stanley Cup, they fill it with champagne and drink from the Cup. When a team wins the World Series, they celebrate in the locker room with the popping of champagne corks. [I can't describe the celebration in basketball as I have to admit that I have never watched an NBA Championship game]. Unlike the other sports, the Lombardi Trophy seemed akin (l'havdil) to the way that a sefer Torah is carried out or back to the Aron Kodesh.

I heard an interesting vort on a Rabbi Mansour recorded shiur (available on which discussed the Aron Kodesh (the ark of the covenant from Raiders fame). Unlike every other article described in Parshas Terumah, the dimensions of the Aron Kodesh were exclusively half measurements (2 and 1/2 by 1 and 1/2 by 1 and 1/2). R' Mansour explained that the reason for the partial measurements was to show that Torah is not housed in perfection and is available to the masses.

Rabbi Mansour told over a R' Moshe Feinstein story related to this vort. A particularly difficult medical issue arose which required that R' Moshe meet with a medical expert. The expert who was brought in was none less than C. Everett Koop, MD. Following the meeting, Dr Koop remarked - I have been on campuses all over the country and have met many brilliant college professors,but I have never met anyone like him. Most of the scholars who I met were brilliant but arrogant. R' Moshe was humble and never made me feel like I was beneath him.

This is the role of the Aron Kodesh - a receptacle for Torah but not a perfect object, as the Torah must be approachable by the masses.

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