Sunday, March 8, 2009

כִּי אֵיכָכָה אוּכַל, וְרָאִיתִי, בָּרָעָה, אֲשֶׁר-יִמְצָא אֶת-עַמִּי

Oy. Oy meh haya lanu. My Shabbat Zachor --- by the NF.

Two yekkes are standing outside Adas Yeshurun in Frankfurt-am-Main discussing Purim. the discussion goes as follows:

Chaver Shimshon: "Chaver Refael, do you know why we read part of megillos esther to the melody of Eichoh?"

Chaver Refael: "No, Chaver Shimshon, why?"

Chaver Shimshon: "Because even on our happiest days we shouldn't be too happy"

Chaver Refael: "If that's so, why don't we read the entie megillos esther to the melody of eichoh?"

Chaver Shimshon: "No one should ever be THAT happy."

The NF is not a big fan of Purim --- the balagan, the noise the levels of excess, the whole v'nahafoch hu thing just doesn't do it for me. I like things orderly, in thier place etc. For the same reasons I don't enjoy Simchat Torah very much either.

There are many things that drive me crazy on Purim
  • having to sit - while still fasting --- through a long megilla reading at night with some 11 year old sounding an air horn every time he hears Haman giving me a nasty migraine.
  • The sheer levels of waste that go into Mishloach Manot
  • How the idea of v'nahafoch hu has morphed into a blanket heter to do anything and everything during tephilla not only on Purim itself, but also on the Shabbat before (Zachor). The NF would like to rant and rave for a moment on this very point.

The NF can carry a tune (translation: I have been trained as a baal tephilla --- I end up davening every 6-8 weeks and generally lead a tephilla or 2 or 3 over R"H and Y"k)...when I got to shul this past Friday afternoon, the gabbai asked me if I wanted to daven. Being that I hadn't slept in about 4 days and had a bad headache, I declined....instead a kid got up there to lead....

One of the gabbaim then hijacked Lecha Dodi and used the melody from Meshenichnas Adar. (It sort of fits). then they started dancing. Knowing my feelings about melodies that sort of fit and dancing during kabbalat shabbat the Gonging Gabbai then came over to me to see what I thought. Being in a generous mood, I responded that there is no gonging on Shabbat Zachor or on Purim....At least that's how I felt until I got to shul on Shabbat Morning.

While putting on my talit, I was informed that I was davening Shacharit --- no big deal. As an honest NF, I need to admit that I gonged myself --- I went a little flat on a little chazzzanus bit at the end of Yishtabach that I picked up from Lionel Rosenfeld and the Shabbaton Choir. I'd nailed that bit a number of times....not sure what threw me off this Shabbat. The judges were kind although the score from the Bulgarian judge was only a 6.5. Gong.

We finished up leining zachor in the ashkenazi, sephardi and teimani traditions. One guy named Bob also insisted in reading it in "burp voice" but again I was in a generous mood and no gongs were given out. Then it happened. It was 10:20 AM (we usually finish by 9:45), it was hot in the house we were davening in and there were about 300 women waiting outside to hear zachor. Shloime Baruch gets up there and decides that it would be a good idea to shlep. First he sang avinu sheba shamayim . 20 minutes later he finished and I think that everyone in the shul agreed that he deserved a gonging. Even Shloime's mother.

Shloime put back the torah and starts kaddish to the melody of the Y"k victory kaddish (why he didn't use the y"k pre-musaf kaddish is also a mystery) . Gong. Then in chazarat hashatz, he did a whole chazzanus piece that led into the melody of avot from the yamim noraim. Gong. In kedusha he used yachad yachad for Keter and messed up the phrasing. Gong. He then repeated Kvodo maleh olam about 30 times until a bat kol came and down and informed us that The Abishter couldn't stand it any more and He and His Kavod would be exiting the olam for a little while. Gong. Adding insult to injury, Shloime then used the Carlebach mimkomcha for mimkomo...that would be fine except that it had already been used in Aarvit friday night and in NF's shacharit kedusha. You can't keep reusing the same melodies like that. Although I try to be dan lchaf zchut, I have a feeling that Shloime came a bit late to shul and was unaware that the melody had already been used. Gong. The reaction to Shloime's offensive davening was the mitpalilim started having shilshul right there in the shul --- that is all the mitpalilim other than the constipated ones. they threw up.

you know you have done something wrong when Yankel of El Solo Mio fame 's reaction is: "You don't mess with Yom Kippur. That was wrong. I'm having a bunch of guys over for Cornettos after shul. Shloime is not invited". Gong.

A fellow mitpalel overheard Shloime explain that his shananagins were based on what his yeshiva used ot do on Shabbat Zachor. Of course Shloime learned at Yeshivat Malbish Arumim in Eilat --- not exactly a bastion of erudition and scholarship.

The NF does not understand why people constantly confuse simcha with making fun of davening. The same sort of thing that happened in NF's shul this past week happens on Simchat Torah. I'm all for creating a unique avira on special shabbatot. In Gush, the chutznikim would form a choir for Shabbat Zachor and the best best best baalei tephila led davening.In my little yekke shul growing up we celebrated Simchat Torah through pomp and circumstance rather than through wild partying. There is no reason special occaisons must be somber but making the davening on special days hefker only goes to degrade, not enhance.

Chag Purim Sameach,

the NF