I have one prediction today that doesn’t have to do with football. At least not directly.
Early mincha minyans, in the 12:30-3:00 range, are bound to be very popular on the East Coast.
With the Giants facing the Patriots in a rematch of the 2008 Super Bowl, who wants to miss out on the pre-game show with a late afternoon/evening minyan?
I’m off in a few minutes to one such minyan. I don’t pretend to be a serious football fan, but there’s very little more exciting than the NFL playoffs and Super Bowl, especially with a New York team in the mix.
I’ll have to scramble to be back from family visits for early maariv, too. Because missing out on the 5:30-ish minyan means taking a chance that the game could be in overtime, or in the last quarter following a long half-time show when the latest available minyan rolls around.
It’s one of the many pressure-cookers of my year of saying kaddish. Most of them have been work-related, but a few weeks ago I went to see the film “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” with my son: A long movie with a suspenseful end. It was scheduled to end with a 10 minute window before the last maariv in town.
But the movie started 20 minutes after the scheduled screen time because of slow projectionist and eight trailers. Faced with the choice of missing the 9:45 maariv, setting a bad example for my now 18-year-old son, and catching the ending, I took the high road and bailed about 10 minutes before the credits rolled. Thank God for Wikipedia’s plot summary for tying up the loose ends when we got home.
When it comes to minyans and kaddish, even when it comes to Oscar-nominated films and action packed-gridiron showdowns, it’s always good to remember the old cliché about answering to a higher authority.
POST-SCRIPT: Fortunately, I did catch the jam-pecked 5:30 minyan at my local Young Israel. Otherwise, at 9:45, I would have missed the classic, comical Ahmad Bradshaw accidental touchdown that clinched the game and Tom Brady's desperate, ultimately failed hail-Mary pass.