Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Field of Life, Pt. 2: The Baseball Kabbalah

Our Man Elli in Israel got a great kick out of Dov Abramson's Baseball Field of Life artwork, and in that light, reminds us that the connection between baseball and the Kabbalah has been bandied about for decades, and points to the writings of Reuven Goldfarb, the self-described "poet laureate, author, balladist, rhapsodist, baseball aficionado, rhymer, writer and kabbalist devotee":

"...My purpose in this article is to examine the resemblances between certain Jewish mystical and moral teachings and the folkways of baseball, beginning with the remarkable congruity I have noticed between the sefirotic Tree of Life and the positions of a team in the field when an opposing player is at bat.

"I will ask you to imagine the layout of a team--three outfielders, four infielders, and the 'battery"'(pitcher and catcher). That's a total of nine players. Add the batter, and you've got ten players on the field at the time the ball is put into play, the same number of Sefirot (spheres or Divine Emanations) that constitutes the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, a schematic drawing of the universe used by mystics to contemplate and comprehend the workings of God, the energy patterns set in motion by the Divine Will.

"According to this analogy, or metaphor, God might have said, 'Play ball!' instead of 'Let there be light!' And you've heard of the seventh inning stretch? Does that sound like Shabbat to you? Well, in any case, the tree, with its ten S'firot, may be superimposed upon the players in the field, poised to begin their game. And this is the correspondence, at least the way I read it:

"Keter /Crown
(Fontanel) Center Field

Chokhmah /Wisdom
(Right Brain) Right Field

Binah /Understanding
(Left Brain) Left Field

Chesed /Lovingkindness/Overflow
(Right Arm) Second Base

Gevurah /Strength/Discipline/Limit Setting
(Left Arm) Shortstop

Tiferet /Beauty/Harmony (
Heart) Pitcher

Netzakh /Victory/Endurance
(Right Thigh) First Base

Hod /Splendor/Grace
(Left Thigh) Third Base

Yesod /Foundation/Communication
(Sign of the Covenant) Batter

Malkhut /Sovereignty/Groundedness
(Feet) Catcher"

Read the entire article here, and as Elli suggests, read here and here while you're at it.

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