Thursday, July 28, 2016

A review of last Shabbat's mussaf

As a new co-worker "Making Tzaddikim Great Again" has recently discovered the now defunct blog, he has asked me why I don't get back to writing.

After this past Shabbat's mussaf, I could safely say that material had made itself available.

A bit of background: In our famous south Jerusalem synagogue, our internationally famous Rav has placed a number of baalei tefilla (if you want to call them that) on a black list for, well, sucking or just plain irritating the hell out of the kahal.  Only when the Rav is away, do the gabbaim ask the black-listed chazzanim to daven before the amud.  Appearing on the list:

  • Guiseppe the WOP - an Italian-born neighborhood guy with an operatic voice who likes to sing kedusha to Verdi
  • Cravat man - an older man with a rotten voice who likes to lead Kabbalat shabbat, nusach Carlebach, at the slowest possible speed all while wearing a cravat.
  • Pepe Le Pew - A Frenchman who enjoys schlepping out the davening every opportunity he gets. In truth, Pepe (named after the famous French cartoon skunk) doesn't have a bad voice....he just regularly starts in a  bad register so that he cracks as he tries to go high. Pepe has become quite predictable in what he will sing. Kedusha of  Shacharit is always this.  Anyway, this past year Pepe was asked to daven mincha on Yom Kippur and although he was allocated an a hour and 10 minutes, he decided he would show everyone that he deserved a mussaf. He sang everything he could. At the hour and half point, oblivious to the late hour and the growing annoyance of the kahal, he began to sing רצה - our famous Rav banged on the shtender and yelled nu....Pepe had been placed on the blacklist.
With out Rav away this past Shabbat, the gabbaim asked Pepe to daven mussaf. While baal shacharit  had inoffensive (if not boring) nusach, he took his time. Leining was long as well (Pinchas is a lengthy parsha). And then Pepe got up there. And he schlepped. But what made mussaf special was Pepe's predictable kedusha:
First, פרוק ית for נעריצך and קדוש (which he said 4 times), תנצל נפשי (or at lease part of it) for כבודו, then אודך (from Hallel!) for ממקומו and finally, כבקרת רועה עדרו  for שמע ישראל.  As usual, no one was singing along (other than Dr. D and the NF adding "gong" in the appropriate places). Some may disagree with me, but I am a firm believer that certain melodies (such as כבקרת רועה עדרו and other yamim noraim melodies) should be left for, well, the yamim noraim. Would you ever consider singing part of davening to chamol or kol nidrei  on a regular shabbat?