Super Bowl and Super Women

Friday, 10 February, 2023 - 12:41 pm

Superbowl super women.jpg

Despite the 49ers missing the cut, almost everyone I know plans to watch the Super Bowl this Sunday. It makes sense after all since the Super Bowl is the largest and most participated in annual religious experience in the US. 

Think about it: Just like a religion, it has its own rituals, and just like a religion, there are varying degrees of observance. There are those who not only watch the game, but spend an entire weekend at pre and post game parties; kind of like the people who spend the entire Yom Kippur in the synagogue. Then you have the people who just watch the game itself; that’s like those who just come to hear the shofar on Rosh Hashanah (or just for Yizkor on Yom Kippur). You even have the people who just watch the commercials - like the crowd that comes just for the kiddush (or the JFK Club as it’s called)!

That’s right, the Religion of Sports has, for many American Jews, replaced their Jewish heritage. It provides community and a goal to work toward, and no doubt the euphoric sense of being in a stadium packed with fans can easily compete with the most inspiring religious experience.

Despite numerous invitations, this Sunday I’ll be watching a completely different spectacle. I’ll be watching the annual banquet of the International Shluchos Conference. 

In case you need it, here’s a brief primer of some Chabad lingo: Chabad rabbis are actually called “Shluchim” which means emissaries (or in the singular, “shliach”). The feminine version of the word is “Shluchos” (or in the singular, Shlucha).

The secret of Chabad are the Shluchos; they are the ones who keep things on track and on mark. In Judaism it has always been known that the woman is the one who truly sets the tone in the home and this is certainly true in a Chabad House. 

The Shluchos are the ones who run the household, make sure the kids (and their husbands) are fed and dressed - all while giving classes, running community programs, meeting privately with people and ensuring that nothing falls through the cracks.

The Shluchos are the ultimate givers; they share themselves and their lives in heroic ways. Ensuring that everyone is cared for and remembered. 

I find the contrast between these two major events to be very significant and actually highlights divergent approaches to life. 

The way I see it, the primary difference between the Torah centered lifestyle and the lifestyle promoted in popular culture is this: The Torah focuses on giving and the pop culture value system is based on taking.

What do you think, is there something wrong with taking? Is there something wrong with watching out for your needs?

Yes and no. While we certainly need to take care of ourselves there’s something unsettling about taking, to the point that it makes us uncomfortable. Perhaps it’s because man is hardwired to be a giver, to contribute. Of course we have to take care of ourselves, but what is the end goal? Why are we taking care of ourselves? Just so that we can live a little longer and be a taker for more time? Or is there something more?

More to life there definitely is, but the secret is not looking out for yourself with more passion - it’s doing more for another. That’s how we fulfill our purpose in life.

The Torah advocates giving, both to G-d and to man. Doing a mitzvah because that’s what G-d wants from us, not just because it feels like the right thing to do. Helping another in times of need, not to varnish our resume or be awarded the “Humanitarian of the Year” award, but rather just to help them.

The most ironic part of it is, that the secret to finding happiness is not by getting what you want from life, it’s by giving of yourself to others. In other words, the more you focus on giving, both to man and G-d, the happier your life will be. 

So this Sunday afternoon, whether you watch the Super Bowl or the Shluchos banquet, take some time to consider how to strengthen your giving muscle. It will make your life so much richer, deeper and more satisfying. Even watching the Super Bowl, the epitome of pop culture, can be a giving opportunity. So go ahead, try giving instead of taking; you’ll be happier for it!


While Goldie is in New York, she will be visiting and praying at the resting place of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, an auspicious and holy place. If you would like her to pray on your behalf or on behalf of a family member who could use a blessing, please email her [email protected]. Please include in the email your Jewish name and your mother’s Jewish name, as it is customary to include them in the prayer. 

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