Friday, October 12, 2012

R'galim round-up (and Parshat B'reshit post)

Hoshana Rabbah
Knowing that the likelihood of getting a minyan at our own synagogue was almost nonexistent, a small group of hardy congregants met in front of our shul building an hour before our usual Sunday morning service and piled into a taxi for a trip to my old "kaddish shul" (where I commuted to morning minyan to say kaddish for first my mother, then my father).  We arrived just barely in time for the beginning of the service, and found a nice-sized crowd already there (estimate:  50 people by the end of the service).  The cantor, who's an expert in nusach, did an excellent job of leading the service from the Birkot HaShachar (Morning Blessings) right up to the Torah reading, which was leined/chanted by a congregant.  The rabbi took over for the Hoshanot processions, and, at the end thereof, we all went outside into the sukkah to beat our willow branches.  Nut case that I am, I insisted on staying behind while the others took a taxi back to our neighborhood--why miss an opportunity to grab some pastries at the local kosher bakery and eat in a local sukkah?  Yum!  'Twas a fine end to Chol HaMoed.

Sh'mini Atzeret--Round 3
Our congregation "hosted" our would-be High Holiday "cantor" again, since our regular cantor was undergoing medical testing.  Okay, I guess he "faked" Tefillat Gefesh/the Prayer for Rain well enough, but it would have been nice if he'd bothered to learn the traditional nusach for the chatimot (concluding words) of the b'rachot (blessings) of the Amidah prayers.  :(  Which he could have learned by doing an Internet search for "nusach," as I just did (see above)--there's a snippet of Shalosh R'galim nusach at the linked website.  But, of course, the few of us who care have been overruled, as usual--everyone loved his gorgeous voice, and almost no one either knew or cared about how limited he is in his knowledge of the Ashkenazi liturgical tradition.  It upset me that we were paying him to lead the services, yet my husband ended up leading Hallel from the side, for free.  I repeat--we needed a leiner/baal koreh/Torah reader, not a cantor.  My husband could have done a better, albeit not as gorgeously-sung, job as a baal t'fillah (prayer leader) leading than this "cantor" did.  Sigh--I simply have to get it through my thick skull that almost no one in this congregation knows or cares how many mistakes the leiner makes or how well the baal t'fillah knows the nusach--they just want someone who sounds good.

Simchat Torah
Well, the regular cantor came back just in time to go fetch his family to help make a minyan on Erev Simchat Torah so that we could do some hakkafot.  We never had more than 14 people, and felt lucky to have even that number.  The morning was better--though we didn't have a minyan yet for Chazarat HaSha'tz (Reader's Repetition of the Amidah prayer), we did have one, after some waiting, soon enough to go ahead with a full Torah reading with hakkafot.  We ended up with about 20 people, and managed to have a very nice Yom Tov celebration.

One of the reasons why I stopped spending Simchat Torah at our local synagogue (back when I was still traveling by subway on Sabbath and festivals) was that I was tired of feeling like the unpaid entertainment--even a decade ago, when we were all younger, few people would join me and my husband in dancing (which is why we gave up on dancing in the street on Simchat Torah--we couldn't even get people to dance in the aisles).  I've now come to the conclusion that I should just accept my position as the in-house entertainment as "ordained," and not let it bother me.  So I ignored the relative lack of company and enjoyed myself.

Hope your holidays were happy.  Shabbat Shalom.

Speaking of which, here's a D'var Torah regarding Parshat B'reshit from Conservadox.

And one from our son.

Ah, to heck with it--I don't have time to set up separate links to my Parshat B'reshit posts, so just read them here.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

My wife and I spent some time poking at the reason for Adam and Eve's shame at their nudity the other night when we were studying the Parsha. One idea that came up (I think it was mine, but the way our discussions go, one can never be sure) was that the effect of the fruit of the tree was to give them the ability to discriminate, to discern good from bad, and with that came the fear of being subject to a similarly judgmental gaze - covering up is a way of hiding from that gaze, be it God's, or each other's.

Sun Oct 14, 02:22:00 AM 2012  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Richard and wife, that's an interesting way of looking at the story.

One of my personal favorites regarding that story is an ancient post of mine from 2004, Parshat B’reishit: Adam and Eve—a coming-of-age story.

I'm amused to see that I've been marveling at the apparent fact that someone hit the “reset” button at the beginning of chapter 5 (as if the stories of Adam’s rib, the snake, and Kayin’s/Cain’s murder of Havel/Abel, told in chapters 2, 3 and 4, had never happened) since 2009.

Mon Oct 15, 01:30:00 PM 2012  

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