Netzach – נצח

This week’s sefirah, Netzach, takes us out of the realm of character traits (love, might, and beauty) and into the realm of time. Netzach, commonly translated as “eternity,” brings to mind the part of God that is beyond time, that predates the universe and for whom a thousand years is but a day (Tehillim 90:4). This sefirah, then, is less about who God is than about how God is. While the term does not show up at all in Chumash (The Five Books of Moses), it does appear in Nevi’im (Prophets), where it is first used as a title for God: Netzach Yisrael, the Eternal One of Israel (I Samuel 15:29). 

In a time where so little feels certain, where it is so clear just how little in our lives truly lasts, this seems like an important week to focus on what the Omer is trying to teach us. While our day-to-day lives can feel interminable, the sefirah this week is asking us to remember the positive connotations of eternity. Take a moment to take stock – since we began counting the Omer, or since the world as we knew it was turned uspide down – what in your life is truly “eternal”? I exepct that your answers, like mine, are not what they might have been even a few months ago. As we move through this week, I intend to focus on those things that align most with the daily sefirah paired with Netzach, and to contemplate that which I pray is eternal.

Of course, hockey is both eternal and not present at all right now. It is eternal in that millions of people around the world carry their love for the game with them, especially right now, and will pour that passion back into everything surrounding the game as soon as they safely can. It is also not present right now in the most tangible ways, with the NHL and most other hockey on indefinite hiatus. That loss is especially sharp as we are missing one of the rhythms of early May – the intensity of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. So instead of focusing on the lack of hockey, we want to remind you of the most lasting of all NHL players – the iron men. These are the players with the most outstanding endurance in the game, lasting hundreds of games without ever missing one. Nothing says eternal in hockey like playing over 800 straight games, and the last three here are still active!

Doug Jarvis, 964 games. Never missed a game in his career. Broke Garry Unger’s record by playing in his 915th NHL game on December 26, 1986.
Garry Unger 914 games. Streak ended when Unger was benched by Atlanta Flames coach Al MacNeil.
Steve Larmer 884 games. Did not miss a game during 11 years with the Blackhawks. Streak ended as a result of a contract dispute.
Keith Yandle 866 games (active). Last game missed was on March 22, 2009, while playing for the Phoenix Coyotes (game 73 for the team). He played the last 9 games of that season and, to date, every game since. Yandle also played 84 games in 2014–15 due to a mid-season trade.
Patrick Marleau 854 games (active). Last game missed was on April 7, 2009 while playing for the San Jose Sharks (game 80 for the team). He played the last 2 games of that season and, to date, every game since. Marleau did not play the opening few games of the 2019–20 season, but he signed an NHL contract with the San Jose Sharks on October 9, 2019, meaning he did not miss 4 games that the San Jose Sharks had previously played, while Marleau was an unrestricted free agent and games were not counted for him
Phil Kessel 844 games (active). Last game missed was on October 31, 2009, while playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs (game 12 for the team). He played the last 70 games of that season and, to date, every game since.

(Data from Wikipedia)

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