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Congregation Beth Shalom of the Blue Hills

Serving the Jewish Community of: Milton, Quincy, Boston, Hyde Park, Dorchester, Roslindale, Braintree & Surrounding Areas

No Special Bracha When Meeting a Star Athlete

So while thousands braved the cold and snow standing by the roadside to catch a glance of and cheer on this year’s Super Bowl champs, it reminded me that two times in my life I have had the honor to rise from my chair to greet Presidents of Israel – Navon and Peres.  Standing to meet someone is a sign of respect.  The first time I experienced this was as an 8th grader when my Day School class attended a Shabbat retreat at a Providence, RI Yeshiva.  When the Rosh Yeshiva walked into the dining hall for dinner, I was stunned to see all those assembled rise as one.  Complete silence filled the room until, after he sat down, the sound of chairs scraping along linoleum and youthful chatter reigned once more.  No surprise, there’s a bracha when meeting a Torah scholar – Baruch ata….ha’olam who has imparted some of God’s wisdom to those who revere Adonai.  There’s also a bracha when meeting a political ruler – Baruch ata….ha’olam who has given some of God’s honor (kavod) to flesh and blood.  There’s even a blessing when meeting a scholar in the secular world – Baruch ata….ha’olam who has bestowed some of God’s wisdom to flesh and blood.  Alas there is no blessing when meeting a sport’s star.  This probably has a lot to do with what Judaism thought about Roman gladiators – we can hold a grudge for a long time.  But come to think of it there might be a blessing for Tom Brady and the Patriots.  There is, after all, a bracha that can be said when seeing beauty in nature.  Baruch ata….ha’olam who has such as these in the world.  Have you ever met someone who deserved a bracha?  If so, I’d be curious to know who!  Shabbat Shalom, RabbiB