Thursday, September 17, 2015

Yom Kippur is about to collide with baseball, but the two go so naturally together

Washington Post    by Mendel Horowtiz

Like a field of dreams, Yom Kippur counts on ghosts to inspire. In Kevin Costner’s role in “Field of Dreams,” his character Ray Kinsella carves a baseball diamond from a cornfield after hearing a mysterious whisper, “if you build it, he will come.” Encouraged by the prophecy and by the spirits of departed ballplayers, Ray in the end discovers his estranged father behind the plate and engages him in a game of catch.

The High Holidays, too, can be stirred by voices of contrition, correction and change. On Yom Kippur, I, too, will carve something precious from a neglected past.

This year, the Day of Atonement falls on the eve of Sept. 23, when the Mets will host the Braves. For the believers in Flushing, baseball might seem delightfully temporal, repentance as distant a notion as spring.

In my synagogue, that holy day will be celebrated as an occasion of longing, an extra-inning playoff of abstinence and prayer. I may not be rooting for the home team that afternoon, but I will be encouraged by baseball’s oddities.

When Yogi Berra quipped “it ain’t over till it’s over” during the summer of 1973, the Mets were in last place, finishing a dismal 44-57. By Aug. 30 the team was 61-71, 6.5 games back with 29 to play. Before the season closed the Mets would claim the NL East, victorious in 21 of their last 29 contests. [...]

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