Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Manna from heaven

This post is a bit late, I realize, since I'm publishing it after sunset (which means that, according to the Jewish calendar, it's already Wednesday), but working for a living does tend to limit how much post-publishing I can do during the day.

I wasn't particularly pleased with Rafi G.'s guest post (on DovBear's blog) re Parshat HaMan, but I suggest that you read it anyway, just to find out what he and I are talking about. Personally, I prefer the old posts on the subject written by DovBear himself--you'll find links to them at the end of Rafi G.'s post.

Here's what I found out about Parshat HaMan today. First, the bad news: There seems to be a minhag/custom among some folks to read the whole section twice, either both times in Hebrew or once in Hebrew and once in the Targum Onkelos Aramaic translation, as if segulot--as much a form of superstitious belief and/or behavior as throwing salt over one's shoulder, in my opinion--aren't bad enough when performed once. I second what DB said (in one of his linked posts): "Many people . . . are perfectly convinced that reciting the magic psukim [verses], on the magic day, is a guarantee, and that the rote recitation of words leaves God with no choice but to shower us with undeserved and unearned blessing. This view of how the world works is an absurd and dangerous distortion of Judaism,"

Then, the good news: Some non-Ashkenazim refrain from saying HaShem's name when reading the biblical passage of Parshat HaMan, saying "Amunai (my faith?)" instead of the Ashkenazi version, "Adoshem." I like that version much better, if for no other reason than that it rhymes with the original and would sound much better when one is singing sacred songs.


Blogger The Reform Baal Teshuvah said...

If you look at the opening bracha, one of the phrases is:

בהתר ןלא באסור

Which I take to mean "by the permitted and not by the forbidden."

Imagine how much better if people did utter that each day, not by rote, but by kavannah, not as a segulah, but as a liturgical reminder of the importance of behaving ethically.

Wed Jan 27, 02:17:00 PM 2010  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

My ArtScroll Siddur Kol Yaakov, Nusach Ashkenaz prayer book translates that phrase as meaning "in a permissible and not in a forbidden manner." It would, indeed, be a very good thing if people took those words to heart and conducted themselves in an ethical manner in both their personal and business lives.

Wed Jan 27, 10:43:00 PM 2010  

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