Sunday, March 05, 2006

Overconfidence—a cautionary tale

I’ve known Haftarat Terumah for probably at least a decade, having learned it roughly three rabbis ago. And I do have some trouble with practicing repeatedly because acid reflux disease does tend to make my throat get sore much more quickly and easily than it did in the good olde days. Still, I was asking for trouble when I practiced only twice, and I got way more than I imagined was possible: This is the first time in over thirty years of chanting haftarot that I’ve accidentally skipped an entire line and had to go back and chant the pasuk (verse) again from the beginning.

The folks in my current shul are pretty forgiving. “It happens.” “You’re human.” But I can imagine what the man who was my rabbi when I learned the haftarah cantillation, a man of uncompromising standards, would have thought. He would have thought that I’d disgraced myself and my congregation in public. And he would have been right. "T’nu chavod laTorah—give honor to the Torah."

Don’t let this happen to you.


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