Candle lighting time is 6:00.
This week’s Parshah is Vayakhel-Pekudei which completes the description of the building of the Mishkan, It is a rather technical parshah and so, instead of providing a commentary on this parshah, since I am in Florida and spring training is now in progress, I will comment instead on some of the Jewish baseball players you might be hearing about this season.
First of all, for those who don’t think that this is an appropriate subject for my blog, remember that the first four words of Genesis are, “In the big inning.” Remember to that God worked for six innings then stretched and that is why we have the seventh inning stretch, so baseball and our religion are definitely intertwined.
Now on to a few Jewish players you might want to keep an eye on this year.
Ryan Braun The Milwaukee Brewers All Star left fielder was the National League’s Most Valuable Player in 2011 when the Hebrew Hammer hit .332 with 33 homers and 111 RBI. Last year, Braun finished second in the MVP voting after posting a .319 average with 41 homers and and 112 RBI. In his six year big league career Braun has been Rookie of the Year, MVP, and a five time All Star. His career average is .313 and he has hammered 202 homers and driven in 643 runs. His reputation has been tarnished by accusations of performance enhancing drug use, but Braun has vigorously denied these charges.
Kevin Youkilis After eight superb seasons with the Boston Red Sox, Kevin Youkilis was sent in mid-season last year to Chicago to play for the other Sox, the Chicago White Sox. While in Boston “Youk” was a three time All Star and a Golden Glove winning first baseman. But Youkilis has also played second base, third base, and the outfield during his career adding versatility to his many other skills. At bat, Youkilis can hit for both power and average having hit over .300 three times while hitting as many as 29 home runs in a season. Youkilis’s best season was 2008 when he finished third in the MVP balloting after hitting .312 with 29 homers and 115 RBI. Youkilis is very proud to be a Jew and in Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story, a 2010 documentary film, Youkilis says, “It’s something that I probably won’t realize until my career is over, how many people are really rooting for me and cheering for me. And it’s not just because I went 3-for-4, or had a great game. It’s just the fact that I represent a lot of Jewish people and a lot of the Jewish heritage, and the struggles that a lot of our people have had.”
Ian Kinsler An All Star selection in three of his seven major league season, Kinsler, the second baseman for the Texas Rangers, has excellent power for a middle infielder having hit 31 homers in 2009 and 32 in 2001. Kinsler is no slouch with the glove either as he has twice led the American League in double plays by a second baseman.
Ike Davis After a superb rookie season in 2010 in which he hit 19 homers and drove in 71 runs, Isaac Benjamin “Ike” Davis, the slugging first baseman for the New York Mets, missed almost all of the 2011 season with a severe ankle injury. But Davis came back strong last year and hit 32 homers and drove in 90 runs. The Mets are expecting big things from a healthy Davis this year.