Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pesach Round-up

My apologies for the lack of postings over the last month but the NF's wife had the NF on cleaning for Pesach duty. Thus, the NF spent much time blowtorching the curtains, ceilings and linens.

Let's begin with Shabbat Hagadol - "Mendy" davens musaf and decides it would be a good idea to sing kaddish to the melody of Mah Nishtana. Thanks Mendy. Don't let the door hit you on your wait out. Mendy has a very nice voice and generally has very very good nusach so I was sort of surprised by his lack of good judgement. Had he used mah nishtana for part of kedusha I would have smiled. Gong.

The NF was asked to do tefillat Tal on the first of Pesach. Didn't do too bad a job if I say so myself. I hadn't davened Tal in 9 years and as I was asked last minute (the night before actually) to daven I couldn't remember what melodies fit the piyyut "Tal Tein". I ended up using a Carlebach niggun (I think it was originally used for "v'hanchilenu" from Birkat Hamazon but I can't be sure). Other melodies that fit:

1. The Seudah Shlishit niggun (it fits to Yonah Maza)

2. Mizmor L'david

3. Barchenu Avinu

4. Naar Hayiti

Other ideas?

Shabbat Chol Hamoed was pretty uneventful other than the fact that the guy who davened musaf didn't really know the yom tov nusach and insisted on singing avinu shebashamayim. It's actually a really nice composition if sung nicely by a choir. Unfortunetly it's become more and more common in the NF's shul to do it EVERY WEEK. (In fact the guy who davened musaf on shabbat chol hamoed always sings it. and badly.) Oversinging it annoys me because:

1. Invariably the baal tephila uses it when we have already been in shul for 3 hours (because of Hallel, Shir Hashirim, Double Parshiot etc) and that adds another 25 minutes to shul. (Ok, not really but it feels like 25 minutes)

2. You need someone who can sing it and enough people in the kahal who can harmonize which is usually not the case.

The NF thinks it should be used for the Shabbay before Yom Haatzmaut and, God Forbid, the first Shabbat after a war breaks out. However, if two or more wars break out, there is no need to keep singing.

The Last day of Chag was pretty uneverntful. Shloime of Shabbat Zachor fame davened aarvit. While Shloime has a really nice voice his nusach was really the pits. It sounded like he heard someone else do Yom Tov Maariv and thought to himself -" boy that can;t be very hard to do". The Brits in the shul were all expecting the Shalosh Regalim Kaddish/March before the amida. Nothing doing. One Israeli in the shul once told me that the Kaddish of dread (used before maftir in the US and before the amida on Friday night in the UK) is only used in Israel during Maariv for shalosh regalim. That may be the case but Shloime didn;t do that one either. Instead he did the regular friday night kaddish without the fancy finish letting everyone know that it was chag. Gong. Maybe it's time to lay off the Slivovitz...And go back to Nusach school.

Mendy davened musaf beautifully but I gave him a grade of B for the simple reason that despite the late hour he thought it would be a good idea to sing, you guessed it, avinu shebashamayim. Other than that his nusach was very very good. Question to those who know these things: For v'Te'erav on chag do you switch to yamim noraim nusach until Hamachazir shchinato ltzion?

One final note, over Pesach one mitpallel mentioned that while davening at the kotel he overheard a baal tephila try to sing hodu/ana Hashem to the meoldy from Adir Hu (which is actually the "correct" nusach according to the Yekkes). But the guy screwed up and sang Maoz Tzur instead. Classic error. Another classic - mixing up Neila and Tal/Geshem. Any others?