Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blues can be a good thing too

I'm sure people want to know why leading Mussaf services on Simchas Torah in Milwaukee's Lubavitch House, otherwise known as "The Shul East" fulfilled a lifelong dream, right? Right.

Basically, on Simchas Torah by Mussaf you can do whatever the heck you want. You're loaded with spirit, you have no voice left (and if you do have one, shame on you!), and everyone is waiting for a show. Here's a more detailed look at my Mussaf:

After many years of partying on the high holy days, my voice lasts about ten minutes. Sure, if I didn't scream it would last a lot longer, but it's difficult to modulate properly after the heavy imbibing of spirituous liquids. This year I lost my voice on the night of Shemini Atzeres and never really got it back until after the holiday. You know how on car racing games there's a turbo function, where you can speed up for a short amount of time? So I can do that with my voice, for about a minute at a time, which comes in handy when the rabbi is trying to end the hakofa and I have to keep it going. This doesn't help much for extended periods though, so my mussaf was hoarse, which was fine, because mussaf on Simchas Torah is supposed to be hoarse.

Alcohol plays an important role in the Jewish religion. For example, we do the blessing of the Kohanim in Shacharis on Simchas Torah, not in Mussaf, because we assume that that priests (among others) will be too drunk to do much by Mussaf time. In my case, I made kiddush at about 11:15, farbrenged for a while, and was slightly recovered by the time Mussaf rolled around. When I stood up to lead the congregation in prayers one of the local shluchim declared that the kohanim's saying their blessing early shouldn't be for naught, and he poured me several generous lchaims to get me back in the party spirit.

The last and most important factor in Simchas Torah Mussaf is the ability to do whatever you want. For example, through Kedushah I used the nusach for Shemini Atzeres (the blessing for rain). I can't see myself davening on Shemini Atzeres ever, but for a few minutes I was able to sing for precipitation. I continued pretty normally after that, embellishing in the (in)appropiate places and leading all in the rousing tunes that make up our prayer service. By Birchas Kohanim I did the traditional fake benediction, another thing which I can't see myself doing for a while (principally because we don't do Birchas Kohnaim until Pesach).

Overall, it was a great experience. The only thing to mar it was the absence of some extremely important persons, but I suppose that even in our greatest joy we must recall the destruction, or something like that.

21 comments:

C said...

Sounds like fun!

Welcome home, btw (and to le7).

Nemo said...

I got to do Reshus for Chasan Torah and Chasan Breishis for the first time ever, woohoo.

Because of the Lubavitch leanings of the shul I was at, I was put to the challenge of calling on my CGI Montreal MBP memories to name all Rabbeinu Nisienu and their fathers. What is up with this strange ritual anyway? Can you even call sons up for the same aliyah as their fathers? And even if you'll say there's some Simchas Torah heter for calling up sons and their fathers for the same aliya, can you call them up for successive aliyas? And can you give the same people aliyas twice?

One more thing: Despite the fact that the reshus tune is used only once a year (well, twice if you're a Snag), it grows pretty tiresome and monotonous after three or four sentences. Couldn't our beloved Jewish composers of yesteryear pass down a more varied melody for us to chant for the completion of the Torah?

The Real Shliach said...

C: Thanks!

Nemo: All the Rebbeim? Really? I've never really gotten the whole point of calling up the Rebbe and the Friediker Rebbe in 770 for the Aliyos, but I got it. But all the Rebbeim? Outside 770? This I've never heard of. Strange.

Nemo said...

Truth is, I thought it was a little strange and unprecedented too. But who am I to question the Rebbe's Shluchim?

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

I did backwards hagba because the usual guy was too drunk. He was lying. I made kiddush al kois malei (red label) and he had from my kiddush and that was all the alcohol consumed in that particular shul. We duchened at shacharis for naught.

e said...

You guys are unabashed sinners!! http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=25072&st=&pgnum=329

Said the sages of old, whoever prays while drunk, his prayer is an abomination and it is as if he served idols!

Mushkie said...

And when you're tipsy? Soberity is an illusion created by the lack of alcohol.

sarabonne said...

Singing whilst inebriated...must have been interesting.
e-seriously? What about reading krias shema after a farbrengan?

The Real Shliach said...

Nemo: Ours not to reason why, ours just to do and die?

Modeh: What kind of Shul is this?

e: Yes, we are evil.

Mushkie: Well, yes, but e's point is still valid.

Sara: T'was.

And who says you are allowed to be inebriated after a farbrengen?

Mushkie said...

You're right. Didn't the Rebbe impose some limit? 3 shots? Btw (this is a shameless plug) check out vcextreme.blogspot.com.

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

TRS:A shul that could have benefited from a large tahalucha but got me instead. I had my fun at night hakafos.

e:Ayen Mishnah Brurah. There are gedarim and various levels. B'kitzur, anyone reaching the level of shikrus d'anash is a sinner far zich alein even if he doesn't lead a service. I can post on that one too.

sarabonne: not that interesting
sarabonne2: daven maariv first. KShShAh"H may be said as long as you are not entirely wasted.

e said...

re: praying while drunk. This is one of those issues in which Shulchan Aruch is crystal clear, but no one gives a damn because "azoy firt men." Well guess what? The reform don't keep kosher becuase "azoy firt men."

Anonymous said...

http://pravdatransformed.blogspot.com/

sarabonne said...

I suppose I might mention I wasn't talking of myself but rather all those bochurim I hear/read about getting wasted...
Mushkie, I think it's 4 shots.

The Real Shliach said...

Mushkie: 4.

Modeh: We'll have to work on that for next year...

e: Scarily enough, I agree with you here.

e said...

mushkie: it was 3, then the Rebbe raised it to four.

trs: does that mean you regret praying while drunk? Will you do it again?

The Real Shliach said...

No and Yes. I've seen enough people I respect do it... Of course maybe this is reason to stop respecting them. Ich vais nisht.

e said...

Precisely my point! ¨azoy firt men¨ trumps halacha!

The Real Shliach said...

I suppose that is correct.

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

Noch besser. Azei hot g'paskent rebb'n. (Not yours, mine) Go shot for shot with a prospective shver (this is for the unmarried among us. Married's use hiring managers). The point at which you drop out due to fear of saying something you shouldn't is the point that you should stop before davening. Regarding a duchaning tfilla, things get complicated

e said...

(The point at which you drop out due to fear of saying something you shouldn't) ≠ (the point that you should stop before davening)

(The point at which you drop out due to fear of saying something you shouldn't) > (the point that you should stop before davening)