Sunday, July 28, 2013

A bissl of this, a hoover of that :)

For the benefit of the 99% of my readers who have no idea what I'm talking about, let me explain:

  • "a bissl" means "a little bit" in Yiddish;
  • Bissell and Hoover are both vacuum-cleaner companies.
As a person with a B.A. in a foreign language, far be it from me to miss an opportunity to make a bad bilingual pun.  :)

Ahem, what was I saying before I so rudely interrupted myself?

Oh, yes.

The perils of praying on auto-pilot
The visiting rabbi and I had an interesting discussion regarding the advantages and disadvantages of leading prayers while facing the congregation, as opposed to leading prayers the traditional way, which is while facing the aron kodesh ("holy ark," an enclosed "bookshelf" where the Torah scrolls are kept for reading during religious services).   He insisted that, by facing the congregation, he could better gauge whether congregants were keeping up with him or needed more time.  True, but I presented my own opinion, which is that facing the congregation leads to a greater risk of treating prayer services as performances and/or failing to keep a close eye on one's prayer book.  I presented the "performance" problem as one that I'd encountered elsewhere.  (See the last paragraph and the comments here for two true stories).  I didn't have the heart to tell him that he himself had skipped three words in one b'rachah/blessing and mispronounced one word (thereby changing its meaning) in another b'rachah over the course of two services on one Shabbat/Sabbath.

As I become better acquainted with the prayers, even I, Ms. Slow-Poke, occasionally skip words or say the wrong ones and have to go back and correct myself.   In my experience, this is a hazard of knowing the prayers well enough that one doesn't always pay attention to what one is saying--one's kavannah (focus/intent) becomes a victim of  familiarity.  I suspect that, with this particular rabbi, a former yeshiva student, the problem is that he's so used to praying that he actually thinks that he's said all the words, and truly doesn't realize that he's skipped a few.  You might say it's a classic case of mind over mouth.

Intro to Anthropology
A recent guest at our Shabbat morning services had me puzzled as to why she was standing on the side of the room and facing the congregation--until she held up a camera.  I turned my back on her immediately.  The problem wasn't so much that she was violating the laws of Sabbath by taking photos--the problem was that she was treating our religious services as a "photo opp."  The other side of Margaret Mead's lense isn't always a place where one wants to be.

Good health is hard to find :(
Our fellow and sister congregants are plagued with numerous health challenges, such as, for example, hearing and/or vision loss, asthma, diabetes, and arthritis and/or mobility-impairing injuries, and have been subjected to treatments as serious as, for example, joint-repair or -replacement surgery, heart-stent surgery, and dialysis.   We were hoping to pay a couple of bikur cholim (visiting the sick) visits today, but one of our ill is preparing for major surgery and the other is exhausted from chemotherapy.  By comparison, my husband and I are pictures of health.  Thank G-d for big favors.

Barring a sudden change of schedule, I'll be working on a major project tomorrow (and possibly beyond tomorrow) , and probably won't have time even to look at this blog, much less write a post.  I'll see you when I see you.

Yes, I did the reformatting at home--I still have no access to the "Compose" window on my office computer.


Blogger Shira Salamone said...

I deleted my Browsing History, as previously suggested by Reform Baal Teshuvah (in a comment to my "Restricted Access" post), and I *still* have no access to the "Compose" window. Sigh. Oh, well, I expect to be busy with *2* projects by later this morning anyway. See you when I can come up for air.

Tue Jul 30, 11:03:00 AM 2013  

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