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The High Holidays: goofiness counts, too

I did end up going to Simchat Torah ("rejoicing in the Torah") services at Romemu yesterday - and enjoyed every minute of it! We danced and sang in the synagogue, holding each other, holding the torah scrolls, dressed in their silver and embroidery, like a child or a lover in our arms. All that joy and ritual over a TEXT - a collection of carefully-preserved and collected words . . . (made me think, only half-jokingly, that we should have a similar community ceremony at WFC for LOTR and a handful of other Ur Texts!).

But it also reminded me that singing and dancing are as much enjoined on us for the High Holidays as fasting is on Yom Kippur. It's all part of this 40-day continuum. It is a shame that most of us (myself included) usually only go for the painful one, and skip the joy and general goofiness. --Or the sensuality of carrying - and smelling - the etrog & lulav around the synagogue - and then eating outdoors in a Sukka smelling of autumn fruits and leaves - for Succoth…. Something to remember: take the Yom Kippur fast seriously, but remember that it is just part of a whole that includes these others, and give them equal measure.

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( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
martianmooncrab
Oct. 18th, 2014 06:25 pm (UTC)
similar community ceremony at WFC for LOTR and a handful of other Ur Texts!

everyone should bring their favorite book of all time..
ellen_kushner
Oct. 19th, 2014 05:14 pm (UTC)
That is SUCH a great idea!

Are you going to be there?
martianmooncrab
Oct. 19th, 2014 07:33 pm (UTC)
no, I will be at our local con that weekend.. but its still a brilliant idea..
negothick
Oct. 18th, 2014 07:17 pm (UTC)
You've read my mind (as usual). I made it to TWO Simchat Torah celebrations; a Reform congregation on Wednesday night and a Conservative one on Thursday. Klezmenschen, my Klezmer band, played for the Thursday evening one. Our rabbi echoed your sentiments in one of his High Holiday sermons, when he said he wished that his congregants who only showed up twice a year would choose Simchat Torah and Purim instead of one day of Rosh Hashona and Yom Kippur.
ellen_kushner
Oct. 19th, 2014 05:15 pm (UTC)
That is so wonderful. Ain't it awful how we'll force ourselves to be solemn, but not make the time to have the fun? I totally missed Succoth, and now I wish I hadn't.
_stranger_here
Oct. 19th, 2014 12:32 pm (UTC)
Thank you for this post.
ellen_kushner
Oct. 19th, 2014 05:17 pm (UTC)
You are most welcome.

I've been talking to a bunch of younger Jews lately who don't know a lot about the Fun Parts (and even non-Jews who are curious) - I think I'm going to have to do a post (here and on FB) about where I learned about it, for those who are interested.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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