Monday, October 24, 2005

Happy Litvak Day!

a.k.a. "The Mother Of All Hoshanas"
(as one of my students' parents called it)

קוֹל מְבַֿשֵּׂר מְבַֿשֵּׂר וְאוֹמֵר
kayl mih-VAH-sir mih-VAH-sir ve-AY-mer

(if you don't know what that's about, see here)

I really don't understand why people are so weirded out by taking plants and waving them around, or thwhacking them on the ground, backs of chairs, and/or fire-escapes. They seem to think that it's "pagan"-like, or "cultish", or similarly 'primitive'-looking.

C'mon people, what do you expect?
Do you think Yahadut is some abstract, universalist, Western religion?

G/d no!
Judaism is an exotic ethnic religion, tied into the life of one specific People, their relationship to their Deity and the natural rhythms of the Land they live on.

Although sometimes it's hard to tell, when you're on the other side of the planet, and getting ready to pray for geshem is feeling useless since it's been raining all summer anyway...

And notwithstanding the inherent 'heathen' earthiness of Judaism,
...[Two kohanim] would blow trumpets and walk, until they reached the Eastern Gate [of the Beit Hamiqdash]. Once they got there, they would turn around and face Westwards, and say:

"Our ancestors who were in this place had their backs to God's Temple, and their faces Eastwards — and they would bow Eastwards, to the sun. But us? Our eyes are towards God!"

Ribbi Yehuda says, they would repeat it, saying:
"We are for God, and towards God are our eyes!"

אנו ליה וליה עינינו
(Mishna Suka ch.5)

אנו ליה ועינינו ליה
(Piyut for Ne‘ila by Amitai ben Shefatya)


Blogger Justine said...

oh its perfectly normal!

you've reminded me of a friend of mine - her husband left her after 35 YEARS - she was so angry, she went and took it out on his sunflowers. She ripped them out of the ground and beat them 'to death'! You could compare techniques. BTW she's getting re-married soon so it was obviously a good direction to take. The plant beatings, I mean.

10/25/2005 9:47 AM  
Blogger The back of the hill said...

Beat them to death?!?!

I'm shocked. Shocked.

Where are the dogoodniks when you need them?

10/25/2005 5:26 PM  
Blogger Balabusta in Blue Jeans said...

One nice thing about living in California--among millions of nice things, I mean--is that the seasons work pretty well with the calender.

10/27/2005 1:27 AM  
Blogger Justine said...

friends of sunflowers, maybe?

10/30/2005 6:58 AM  

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