Football season is back and all across the fruited plain the sounds of cracking helmets are heard. Down, and off they go.
A quick glance at the field suggests a seemingly criminal inequity. There are the quarterback and the running back, who get all the glory, the big contracts and sneaker deals, and then there are the offensive linemen. They bask in anonymity; they can be penalized for catching a pass and are fortunate if they can walk without pain after their short careers.
Who grows up wanting to be an offensive tackle? Why do they endure so much blunt force visited upon their bodies just to allow the guy with the clean uniform to prance around the end zone?
There is something remarkably informative here (there always is). Offensive linemen don't see it that way. They see themselves as part of a team, and as long as the quarterback and running back do their job, they are tickled pink (though they probably wouldn't use that particular expression) to let them scoot into the end zone while they tangle with a 350 lb. defensive player. They are part of a cause, a mission, where every one plays their part—not the same part. Unity is not conformity, it is each person doing what they do and the reward is everyone's.
This year is a Hakhel Year, when we assemble and celebrate Jewish unity. Hakhel brings together the diverse—the graceful with the powerful, the scholar with the cantor, each has something that only they can offer, even the infants.
So next time you feel cheated because someone else was on the Jumbotron, or if you think you don't matter and no one cares if you show up or not—remember that it is only "with the abundance of crowd that the King is honored."