Rabbi In Enemy Territory

On Wednesday night, the Minnesota Wild NHL team ended a thrilling series against the Colorado Avalanche in the first round of the NHL playoffs by scoring an overtime goal to win the series 4-3. While scores of Minnesotans were rightly excited by the outcome, the Wild must now face the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Chicago Blackhawks. Minneapolis has a fair number of Chicago transplants, but maybe none as notorious as Temple of Aaron’s own rabbi, Jeremy Fine. Here’s his take. We promised we wouldn’t alter it in any way:

We didn't say anything about the picture...

We didn’t say anything about the picture…

Wednesday night my Facebook feed was flooded with Minnesotans all excited about their precious Minnesota Wild. It was annoying for a moment until realized how much fun it is going to be to watch my Chicago Blackhawks escort them to the exit like they did the St. Louis Blues and every team they faced in last year’s playoffs. You see naïve hope for a sports team is one thing but confidence in the Stanley Cup champions is being honest with the world.

Now that some of my smack talk is over, there is a real issue here. For the past two years I have seen the Bears come into town and lose, the Illini come into town and win, and the White Sox and Twins pathetically split games. I will allude to these games from the bimah, on Facebook, or at synagogue events. But this is the playoffs. This is the true test of Rabbi vs. Congregation. This is a no holds barred, winner goes home scenario and I am in enemy territory.

What should I do? Should I brag with a win and hide with a loss? Should I put my fandom aside? Maybe for some rabbis this is not a big deal, but in my world my seforim (Jewish books) line the bookshelves and my fandom lines the walls. So this weekend is not just another Shabbat; it will be a morning that either I am greeted with smiles, or other sorts of gestures. And to be honest I am okay with that, mainly because I am a Blackhawks fan and we are getting accustomed to lifting Lord Stanley.

Game 1 of Wild vs. Blackhawks is tonight, Friday, at 8:30. The series will continue until Game 4 next Friday, or longer if necessary for this Best-of-7 series.