Good and sweet - Livre d'Or








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livredor
Good and sweet
Thursday, 16 September 2004 at 09:52 pm
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Let's see, various community stuff this week.

On Tuesday I spent the afternoon cleaning the synagogue, which really needed it. Quite a few people turned up to help, which was encouraging. They included BG, who brought her mother along! Then in the evening we had a visit from R Elkan Levy. He represents an organization who try to help small Jewish communities. He had a lot of useful practical suggestions of what we could do and what his group could do for us, and generally gave us some much-needed encouragement. He's also one of those incredibly discursive people; he's really geeky about anglo-Jewish history and kept going off into random anecdotes about famous 19th century Jews and other such things. Since there are only a limited number of famous 19th century Jews, it wasn't too surprising that he mentioned an ancestor of mine.

We had eight people for the meal yesterday evening, including a new student (yay!) And it was generally extremely friendly and enjoyable and I'm pleased about it. Today the service was quite well-attended, up to 14 adults and four kids for some of it at least. And I think it went well and people felt part of it. My ex-pupil TS, who has given up on the idea of a full bar mitzvah for various reasons, was nevertheless called to read from Torah for the first time, which made it a really lovely occasion. The person who had volunteered to take some of the responsibility off my shoulders and deal with part of the service had not prepared as thoroughly as I would have done; she had some excuses, such as having been ill this week and having lost the email I wrote with instructions. Anyway, this wasn't a big problem, and I succeeded in not being too irked by it.

I found myself very tempted to power-trip on the sheer emotional power of some of the liturgy, which does sometimes happen when I'm leading. If I read something that moves me, the congregation pick up on the emotion and sometimes I can feel that I'm carrying everybody along. That gives me a real buzz, and it's hard not to aim for it deliberately, almost play-acting my own emotional response by communicating it through the way I read. Anyway, I think I didn't fall into that too much, but at the same managed to make the davening engaging, I think.

I'm reasonably optimistic about the future of the community. With a bunch of keen new people, and the very much needed input from R Levy, and people beginning to get self-confidence that they can do things. I'm finding a bit that I am having to be self-deprecating, because people keep wailing that the community won't be able to continue without me. So I have to really emphasize that of course I'm not irreplaceable, which rather means downplaying the fact that I do make a major contribution. I do absolutely believe it; I'm far from irreplaceable, but I don't like rejecting the credit that I think I deserve. Though of course, it is very pleasant indeed to be appreciated for what I do.

Anyway, happy new year to all those for whom the year is new!


Moooood: pleasedpleased
Tuuuuune: Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring
Discussion: 13 contributions | Contribute something

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pw201: default
From:pw201
Date:September 16th, 2004 03:29 pm (UTC)
1 hours after journal entry, 04:29 pm (pw201's time)

(Link)
"And when I say brothers, in a very real sense I also mean sisters as well."
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livredor: ewe
From:livredor
Date:September 17th, 2004 02:44 pm (UTC)
1 days after journal entry, 03:44 pm (livredor's time)
(Link)
I'm sorry, but I can't figure out what point you're making with this comment. I think it's an excerpt from that bad sermon skit whose origin I can't remember, the one that starts: Today I am going to preach on the text My brother Esau is an Hairy man, but I am a Smooth man, or something like that? Anyway, could you please explain?
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pw201: default
From:pw201
Date:September 17th, 2004 03:13 pm (UTC)
1 days after journal entry, 04:13 pm (pw201's time)
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Sorry, was just referring to the title and thinking of the cliched C of E minister (I might well have been thinking of a sketch, or possibly of Andrew Rilstone's use of the phrase whenever he wants to mock a certain type of churchman). I assume you were thinking that it was good and sweet when brothers dwell in unity, right?

Blibble, random comment anyway. Sorry for confusion.
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livredor: words
From:livredor
Date:September 17th, 2004 03:31 pm (UTC)
1 days after journal entry, 04:31 pm (livredor's time)
(Link)
I assume you were thinking that it was good and sweet when brothers dwell in unity, right?
Ahhh, we have a translation issue here. In my head, that Psalm reads good and pleasant. The good and sweet in my title was a reference to the current fashion for giving unnecessarily elaborate greetings for the festivals. So instead of wishing eachother shana tova, a good year, people feel they have to say warmest wishes for a year that is good and sweet. The 'sweet' bit of the pretentious version is literally sweet, in the taste sense of the word, and refers to the custom of eating honey to celebrate the new year.
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lethargic_man: default
From:lethargic_man
Date:September 18th, 2004 02:12 pm (UTC)
2 days after journal entry, 03:12 pm (lethargic_man's time)
(Link)
In my head, that Psalm reads good and pleasant.

In my head, it is untranslated (but would be "good and pleasant" if I stopped to translate it), and I am continually amused by how many Jews are unaware of the next line: that how good it is, to live as brothers together, is like the oil running down Aaron's beard and dripping on his robe. (Or of the context: the Psalm is about Moses not being resentful of Aaron being given the High Priestship, and Aaron not being resentful of Moses, the younger brother, becoming the prophet and leader of the nation.)
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justinep: default
From:justinep
Date:September 17th, 2004 12:25 pm (UTC)
22 hours after journal entry
(Link)
Shanah Tova and well done.
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livredor: words
From:livredor
Date:September 17th, 2004 02:47 pm (UTC)
1 days after journal entry, 03:47 pm (livredor's time)

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Thank you! Shana Tova to you too!
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lethargic_man: reflect
From:lethargic_man
Date:September 18th, 2004 02:52 pm (UTC)
2 days after journal entry, 03:52 pm (lethargic_man's time)

The Rosh Hashana liturgy

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As a matter of interest, given our discussions about the עקדה, how do you feel about ונתנה תקף?
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livredor: ewe
From:livredor
Date:September 18th, 2004 03:34 pm (UTC)
2 days after journal entry, 04:34 pm (livredor's time)

Re: The Rosh Hashana liturgy

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given our discussions about the עקדה, how do you feel about ונתנה תקף?
Eh? What is supposed to be the connection between those two? In what way do you think knowing my opinions about one is likely to predict my opinions about the other?

Actually, I am rather fond of ונתנה תקף . I think most of the problems that liberal types tend to have with it are fairly spurious. I can see you getting annoyed with the absolutely literal interpretation of how you behave one year determining what will happen to you next year, but I don't think it was ever meant to be taken that literally. In fact I'm not totally convinced that's even what it says.
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lethargic_man: reflect
From:lethargic_man
Date:September 19th, 2004 02:30 pm (UTC)
3 days after journal entry, 03:30 pm (lethargic_man's time)

Re: The Rosh Hashana liturgy

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I wasn't thinking so much about the prayer itself (which I do, actually, like) as (given also your reaction to the Ten Martyrs) the story behind it and the circumstances that led to it being adopted at that point in the service.
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livredor: teeeeeeeeea (thanks to darcydodo)
From:livredor
Date:September 19th, 2004 03:01 pm (UTC)
3 days after journal entry, 04:01 pm (livredor's time)

Re: The Rosh Hashana liturgy

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Er, do you realize who wrote that essay on the prayer?! It would be a strange coincidence if someone with the same name, and the same religious background, and the same educational history as hatam_soferet's husband, is not in fact the same person.

Proper discussion on the actual question later, just wanted to point this out to you, cos I don't think you've realized the implications!
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lethargic_man: default
From:lethargic_man
Date:September 19th, 2004 03:11 pm (UTC)
3 days after journal entry, 04:11 pm (lethargic_man's time)

Re: The Rosh Hashana liturgy

(Link)
*blush* Completely failed to notice. I was just googling for an appropriate link for anyone following this who wasn't familiar with it.
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livredor: words
From:livredor
Date:September 25th, 2004 02:13 pm (UTC)
9 days after journal entry, 03:13 pm (livredor's time)

Re: The Rosh Hashana liturgy

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The story behind the prayer is not something I'm really focused on, tbh. It's most probably a myth anyway, and I'm not totally uncomfortable with the martyrdom theme in the YK liturgy. I'm ok with the way that Judaism doesn't insist that it is anyone's absolute obligation to choose martyrdom, but does revere those who do choose this. Deliberate martyrdom is not at all equivalent to sacrificing one's son because of a direct Divine command.
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