brewers baseball and things

concrete picnic

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Did someone sneak into my apartment and slip something into the tefillin prayer boxes I put on arm and head? Did someone replace the little prayers carefully written on parchment inside the boxes with who knows what? I know it’s not possible. I had the teffilin checked and all was ok.

This should feel like a dream come true. The shtetl life; that living in a Jewish ghetto with bread makers and water carriers is more than a memory trapped between the covers of a Yiddish fiction. It’s real.

The itinerant preacher greets me as I walk outside the hospital  for a 15 minute work break. I know he’s a Maagid. I think that’s what they were called in Chasidic legends; wandering from town to town talking Torah with everyone.  He asks me if I speak hebrew. I tell him in English, only read Hebrew.

He opens the chumash-torah-old testament he’s holding in his hand. We crouch down on a cement ledge under a tree. I know he’s an itinerant preacher because he talks of nothing but torah flipping to the portion about spies entering Israel to check out the agriculture and people; the general scene.. I read in slow Hebrew and he repeats certain words back to me; emphasizing what Rashi says in the comments section below the reading. Rashi is the preferred authority on Torah interpretation.

He sounds out the name Issachar slower than the other chieftain names; slower than the other 12 tribal chieftains sent to Israel. Only two returned with favorable reports; the others filled with doubt and lacking faith.

I don’t know what to make of it other than Ephraim; that was the name of this guy-this maagid-this itinerant preacher…appearing at a funny time because I was thinking about the spies earlier that same morning. Funny, but not a coincidence. Coincidence is the enemy; not the people who believe in coincidence, but the debate over the two is the enemy; useless, a complete waste of time.

You either believe in the miracle or you don’t. I was somewhere in New Jersey looking over the ledge of a bridge into a small pond with rocks and water trickling. I saw a rat and a dove side by side; dead as can be. I wasn’t sure what to make of it at the time and I’m still not sure; a symbol, nothing at all, both.

There was a rabbi in some Brooklyn synagogue. We were standing beside an elevator waiting.  He emphasized the up and down buttons without saying a word; as if that was all; that was everything.

This is the long summer now. Baseball begins to fade for me. I barely catch an inning of Brewer games. It’s the same pattern every year for as far back as I can remember. Makes the life of a baseball player and anyone involved with the game on a daily basis more amazing to me. They find a way to stay fresh. They return every day and find a way to see with new eyes.

Matt Garza gave up five runs in the first inning Saturday. The Nationals scored three more times…cruise control. Final score; Nationals 8, Brewers 3. There are many utility projects to be completed today; install oven filter, flourescent light bulb ballast, and bathroom sink. Rabbi Nachman said “When a person knows that everything that happens to him is for the best, this is a taste of the world to come. ”

The Brewers are 54-44.


Author: Steve Myers

I grew up in Milwaukee and have been a Milwaukee Brewers baseball fan for as long as I can remember.

One thought on “concrete picnic

  1. The rat lies with the dove. Must make something of that.

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