by Matthew Granovetter
At age 13, I first learned Bridge from a book written by
Ruth Cohen. Now, on Shavuos I learn much more from a much better Book
of Rut (no relation, or maybe she is a relation).
Unfortunately, bridge isn't currently the most popular card game (as
it was some time ago). But it might make a comeback since it was added
to the Olympics. Shavuos, too, was once a highly revered festival, but
has unfortunately lost popularity in some circles. Let's work so it regains
When I went to the Israeli Consulate to apply for my Aliyah papers, I
sported a mustache. Since most religious Jews wear beards rather then
mustaches, the Israeli guard decided to test me (in case I was a terrorist
in disguise) to see if I really was a religious Jew. He asked me: "What
is the holiday of Shavuos?" He assumed I wouldn't know about this
obscure, low profile holiday. I proudly answered: "it's the holiday
we celebrate for receiving the Torah." "Enter, he said."
Now that I have a full long beard, a US customs official thought I liked
suspicious recently when I was crossing the border from Mexico into Texas.
He asked what I had been doing in Mexico. I answered, "I was in a
bridge tournament." "Can you tell me who the Blue Team is?"
I answered correctly: "The Blue Team is the name of the Italian world
championship team" "Enter," he said.
One day I'll be at the Gates of Heaven, and when the angel/guard, knowing
I spent so much time on bridge will ask me the entry question, "Did
you study Torah?" I have the right answer. It wasn't all in vain,
as I was able to relate the game of Bridge to Torah study in this Shavuos
Matthew Granovetter, a bridge grandmaster and world champion, is editor
of Bridge Today Magazine.