Thursday, December 17, 2009

Oh, all right.

Although the NF put the blog in "suspended" mode just a 11 days ago, just too much happened last Shabbat to not post.

First things first, a number of you contacted the NF directly following the "suspension" annoucnement to express their shock and let me know the NF had your support. Example:

----Original Message-----
From: ****** R
Sent: Sunday, December 06, 2009 1:42 PM
To: The NF
Subject: RE: New post --- the blog is being put into suspended mode

>My life officially has no meaning from this point forward.

The NF is touched. really.
The gonging gabbai asked the NF to lead kabalat shabbat this past week. Now the NF is not a fan of using the Maoz Tzur melody for L'cha Dodi on Shabbat Chanuka --- we sing the song enough over the 8 days that it doesn't have to be used for yet another thing. And it's kitsch. (The NF was irritated last year when some guy threw it into kedusha on shabbat chanuka - it didn't fit resulting in a gong). Yet, the NF recognizes that a good chazan/baal tefilla jas to be a "benevolent dictator" as an American friend, MMD, likes to say. What do I mean? A creative chazzan can mix things up a bit (and generally do what he wants to do) as long as he doesn't piss the kahal off by using the wrong melody instead of what they are expecting - even if he (strongly) dislikes the melody. (The NF is not talking about the integrity of so called "mi-sinai" melodies - like Kol Nidrei, chatzi kaddish before musaf on r"h & y"k, tal & geshem --failure to use those melodies results in harsh punishements such as cleaning out the filters at the mikveh right afetr the whole community has dipped erev y"k).
For example, the NF hates the Israeli melody for Ki hinei kachomer (from Y"k night)...but the NF knows that should he introduce a different melody, he'll piss off the kahal. So I use the annoying melody.  
The NF has davened in shuls where the baal tefilla is not a benevolent dictator and does something to piss the kahal off; the kahal usually "punishes" the chazan by a) not singing along for anything and b) making sure the said chazan is never again asked to lead anything other than  mincha on R"h.
So the NF felt -- although he didn't like it --- he HAD to use the maoz tzur melody for lecha dodi. I did get dirty looks from both YS and Dr. D, physician. I suppose using Maoz Tsur is better than using "I had a little dreidel" or "I've been dreaming of a White Christmas" 
Kibud or Right
Just after the gonging gabbai asked the NF to daven, the NF noticed a guest walk in--- but not just a regular guest - a father of a shul member who fancies himself to be quite the baal tefilla. In fact this guest was the inspiration behind the KTC post. Half-jokingly, I asked the gonging gabbai if he wouldn't prefer to have this guest daven. The Gonging Gabbai (GG) then remembered that this guest's child had asked if the guest could lead kabalat Shabbat. GG went over to confirm that he wanted to daven...the response: "Machar(tomorrow)-Shacharit" as if it were obvious that it would be a big treat to have him lead.
So the guy starts shacharit the next morning sounding like a dying cat and then suddenly in the middle of birchat kriat shmaa he stops and points to his throat and walks away from the shtender. The entire shul let out a sigh of relief but not for long....
the GG (who still hasn't davened since finishing aveilut) decided he would continue as chazan but as he neared the shtender, Timmy, the baal habus who wrecked Maariv the first night of R"h decided that he hadn't davened in a while, rushed to the shtender and effectivly shoved the GG aside. Timmy's Hallel was bad. very bad. Example: He started the neigh neigh neigh's going into ana Hashem Hoshiya nah in a pitch that only dogs can hear....and then he went very flat when the neigh neighs finished.
The NF doesn't get it --- serving as a chazan on Shabbatot and of course special shabbatot and chagim is a kibud, not a right. I'm not sure where people --- especially the tonedeaf and castrati amongst us --- get a sense of entitlement from.
Repeating words
The NF is kind of indifferent to the issue of repeating words....yeah, I know that there are tons of rabbanim that are very against it, but a) The Abeshter, in His all-knowing way,  should be able to figure out what you are trying to say even if you do repeat a word or two and b) At least in Israel it's become pretty mekubal to have some limited repeating of summary it doesn't bother me all that much.
So Shloime Baruch davens Musaf. His grade: C-
1. It was getting late already and he sang Avinu Shebashayim. Gong
2. His Birchat Hachodesh was really boring. He used the melody for Sheyibaneh Beit Hmikdash but never did the high part. He forgot to wait for the GG to announce the molad... Gong x 3
3. And then we had his kedusha....Shloime has a really nice voice but he doesn;t like to shake it up....he always does a chazzunus bit going into Aye Mikom K'vodo...Knowing this, the NF suggested to a  few guys sitting with the NF ("J", Dr. D, etc that we count how many times he repeats) Unfortunetly we were all counting different words....the NF counted 11 k'vodos, J counted 14 malehs and Dr. D pointed out two l'haritsos...Even though the NF is not bothered by repeating words, this is just too much and once again, the Abeshter sent down a bat kol that he would be exiting the olam for a while. Please note, He hasn't done this since Parshat Zachor last year. Gongs x 26
It's good to be back after that 11 day hiatus....
The NF

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I used "I Have a Little Dreidel" for L'chah Dodi a few years ago at an anonymous synagogue in the US. It went over OK. (Some people were probably just glad that it wasn't Maoz Tzur!) Given my and the congregation's limited vocal equipment and the small number of melodies that we actually know AND can sing, I think it was a good choice.