Thursday, April 13, 2006

!?מועדים לשמחה... גוט יום-טוב

Those of you outside of the land of Israel may notice the timestamp on this post. I actually don't know whether it says 9:10 PM Jerusalem Summer Time or 2:10 PM Eastern Daylight Time, but whatever it is, it may appear I am posting on either the second or first day of Yom Tov, a time that I should not be on a computer, let alone writing a blog entry. In my earlier days (ie: more than 6 years ago), I would use a computer on Shabbat but I wouldn't write any e-mails or do work on it. I have learned since then that my computer should be off all of Shabbat and Yemei Tov, and this is no exception. Israel, however, celebrates the biblically mandated dates (ie: the first and seventh days of pesach are Yom Tov and 2-6 are Chol HaMoed. In the Diaspora they tack on additional Yom Tov on the second and eighth days as a throwback to the times when a messenger had to hurry from Jerusalem to spread the news of the new months and may not have gotten to the outlying areas in time, therefore those outside the land of Israel were not sure what the right date is. We've had an intercalated calendar for almost 2000 years, however, and this is outmoded but we still do it anyway.

...I have to go, as my parents are coming to pick me up to go out to dinner at a kosher for pesach restaurant. Quickly: I'm officially a Pilgrim, having davened at the foot of the Temple Mount (the Western Wall) on a Pilgrimage Festival. I led Musaf and Tal (!) services at the Western Wall in a pick-up minyan, also leading the Birkat Kohanim (though it is said everyday in Israel, and twice on days when you have musaf or fast-days and four times on Yom Kippur, this is the service that they say it world-wide) for the first time in my life. That was aweseme.

More to come...

Good Yontif, though most of you won't be reading this for 2 1/2 days. Wow, Instant Messenger will be so boring tonight and tomorrow...

I'm also going to check out the Good Friday stations on the Via Dolorosa in the Old City tomorrow, just because it's interesting.

UPDATE I wrote from the hotel room that night:

I went to the wall at a little before 10 AM on the first day of Pesach. I woke up at 7 AM and fell back asleep, waking up again at 8:30. I left at 9:00 AM, arriving at the Jaffa gate at 9:30 and At the Kotel at around 9:45. I did psukei d’zimra on my own and joined a minyan, catching up mid-way through hallel. I could have joined other minyanim that were at earlier in services, but this was an ashkenazic (more accurately in Nusach Ashkenaz) service that was being led by someone that is not a black-hat. There were dozens of services being done in the area and there are tons of torahs there as well. I got there late, but it was probably packed. The area was half-full (I’m an optimist) when I got there. I was asked to lead Musaf & Tal. I have always wanted to lead this service, but Koach, even the years I was in control, did not meet on the first days of Pesach. I led it, using the melodies used by Chazzan Yossele Rosenblatt and all of his imitators (seriously, they use his actual voice in their recordings and sing “duets” with his records from the early 1900s). After the third stanza, I was kinda forced into going into a congregational melody. You never win, oh well… I continued afterwards with high holiday Gvurot and Kedushah, Festival for the rest, and the special prayer for the return to Jerusalem with the special chatima, שאתה לבדך נעבוד (as opposed to המחזיר שכינתו לציון) (though according to my Koren Siddur, you are supposed to do the latter even then (in modified form) in Israel on this day as well, much like you say המבורך את עמו ישראל בשלום Instead of עושה השלום between Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur in Israel… I think both situations are due to the sanctity of Israel and its centrality in the pre-existing normal prayers). Then the priestly blessing. Etc, etc…

Seder was fun, we did everything. Every single word was read, sometimes to my chagrin when things were read rather than sung. Oh well. I like the one seder thing. Once you get out of Egypt and you just get dragged back into slavery for one more night. However, second seder is nice if you have a large family or a split family or in-laws so you can go to a different house night #2. I kinda miss having the second seder, a second chance to do things, but usually it gets treated as inferior at less importance is assigned to it

Remember to count the Omer! I have not missed a day since 7th grade so I tend to be called upon to fulfill the mitzvah as most others forget.

I had dinner on Emek Refaim at Joy Express with the parentals. They have fake bread and sweet potato fries. I got entrecote steak. It’s amazing what they can do on pesach. I have rye matzah and want to find matzah from the other grains that are not wheat: spelt, barley, and oat, all equally valid as hamotzi on lechem oni

Have a Good Friday! (Heh heh…)

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