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May 19, 2014

Is patriotism worthless?

In light of the victory of Maccabi Tel Aviv over Real Madrid for the Euroleague champuionship last night, someone asked Rav Aviner if such a victory is a kiddush hashem and if it brings honor and respect to the State of Israel...

basically Rav Aviner's answer was that no, it is not a kiddush hashem and it is narishkeit. We should be proud of chessed or scientific discoveries... but not sports..
source: Srugim

I more or less agree with Rav Aviner, even though I am a sports fan, both enjoying to play and participate in many different sports as well as watching and following some sports (much less now than I used to). And no, I did not watch the Maccabi Tel Aviv game last night. Despite my loving sports, I know it is narishkeit to watch and follow a sports team (rather than participating in sports in which there are health benefits and learnign to be a part of a team, learning to deal with loss, learning how to win graciously, etc.)...

It is definitely not a kiddush hashem when one team wins over another. If it were, that would also mean the next day when the team loses it is a chilul hashem. It is just sports. As long as they play with sportsmanlike behavior and give it their best shot, that is good, but a victory or loss is not a kiddush hashem

But so many people, despite it being narishkeit, do follow sports. There is a sense of pride and patriotism when the team from your city or country wins. Is it worthless? Perhaps. I don't know. People like to be proud of their successes, the successes of their nation. Is it as important as a significant science or medical discovery? obviously not. Is it as important as a group of people who create a program to feed the needy and succeed in feeding thousands of destitute people a month? obviously not. But is it worthless? I don't know. Is patriotism worthless?

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  1. The question is: what values are you patriotic about? I get cynical about Maccabiah, for example. How ironic that the Maccabees were revolting against the culture that gave us the Olympics so what do we call the Jewish version? Riiiighhhhhht.....
    Is it an Israeli patriotism? Then you should cheer. You beat the Europeans. Yay.
    Is it a Jewish patriotism? How is it a Jewish value to be the best in sports, to beat the gentiles at their own game?

  2. Naarishkeit is twitting and social networks-


  3. Maybe it's best to just accept some narishkeit in our lives, as long as we label it as such.

    When we try to make their narishkeit into something holy, we can end up turning elections into holy wars and patriotism into xenophobia.

    1. The first part is true.
      but I would word the second part differently.
      Certainly, basketball is a religion to many, and following the stars and 'professional' sports is pure avodah zara. Elections and patriotism is something else, but I understand your point.
      I'll just say that when people don't have anything, they look for something to believe in, like professional sports. I do think there is much less a problem with amateur and school sports.

  4. Your quote of the day was:
    . I am sure that in the merit of keeping the Shabbos, and also in the merit of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, we won the championship. Many people accepted upon themselves in recent days to strengthen themselves in spirituality so Maccabi Tel Aviv would win. They promised to light Shabbos candles, they accepted upon themselves to lay tefillin and say Tehillim. All this brought the victory, with Heaven's help..

    -- Rabbi Yaakov Gloiberman, a Chabad rabbi associated with the team

    Need I say more?

  5. And if that is not enough, then read this


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