Sunday, September 20, 2009

Highlights from R'H'

A few moments worth noting from the last couple of days:
  1. Had a tender reunion with the elderly Holocaust survivor I had the pleasure of sitting next to last year (see A Rare Honour). I was thrilled to see her. As for why her face lit up to see me... :) Anyhow, over the two days, similar to last year, her tefillah bolstered and inspired me.
  2. Fought the urge to cry Day 1 as it was Shabbos. I managed to refrain from letting the tears spill over. Day 2 though I was simply exhausted and couldn't rekindle my enthusiasm. Hopefully Hashem took notice on Day 1.
  3. Ate dinner with the "Mussar" host et al. Due to the small crowd (5 guys and me), he limited his berachas to everyone in general and left the personalised mussar for another time. As with my previous visit, the part of the evening that I enjoyed the most was communing with the women in the kitchen. I met the hostess's daughter, who was a breath of fresh air. She uttered the most memorable line of the chag: "I knew you were from out-of-town because you don't look miserable. You're too happy to be from Brooklyn". Classic.
  4. Listened to the shofar today, with various interruptions (more on that in a separate post, bli neder). The funniest moment was when two cute kinderlach were obediantly sitting crunching away loudly on their nacho tortilla chips as Mommy tried to hear shofar. The CRUNCH CRUNCH CRUNCH was surprising loud in the otherwise quiet shul and almost overshadowed the blasts. I tried to keep from laughing as I attempted to determine what message Hashem was sending me. :p Aside from "Pay better attention", of course.
  5. Walked to the beach to do Tashlich. Saw at the Sefardi shuls along the way large throngs of people surrounding either wading pools or basins filled with water (and a few token leaves). The scene struck me as hilarious. I mean, how far were these people from the beach? So I assumed it's some minhag born from living in the desert hundreds of miles from water. Then again, maybe not. Inquiring minds want to know!
  6. Made it to the beach just in time to do Tashlich (6:20 PM). I had forgotten however that the paper that I printed off a few years ago uses odd abbreviations. The end result is that the last few years I have problems deciphering what I'm supposed to say in spots. I'm sure I made the usual mistakes this year. Now the question is do I have to do a repeat visit to the beach?

That, along with a lot really terrific food, pretty much sums up my chag (While the terrific comment refers to the various meals I ate out, I'm pleased to report that my salads turned out fine after all). Hope everyone had a great chag and that it was the beginning of an excellent New Year!


  1. If the Mussar is well meant then it's worth the trouble

  2. To clarify, the point of both posts was not about whether the mussar makes going there "worth the trouble". Rather, the posts were about how the host's method of having guests is counterproductive.

    Certainly, the intent of his monologue approach is to provide as much Torah as possible during the meal. However the complete lack of participation it produces in the attendees is misguided. One is supposed to learn with a chavrusa so that one can learn through discussion. The same applies to the table. The host's holy agenda would be significantly furthered by cutting a bit of the soliliquy in order to allow a few minutes of discussion by the guests and his family.

    Of course, that's just mho.

  3. You went back?! Was that some kind of a twisted Rosh Hashana self punishment?!

  4. The reason to limit Tashlich to basins is to limit one's contact with immodest dress of the opposite gender, (male and female) and unholy behavior of foreign cultures especially on the day of humanity's birthday and spiritual renewal.

  5. WHAT?! What have you been smoking on the day of humanity's birthday and spiritual renewal and why are you not sharing?!
    Immodest dress in this weather? Male immodest dress? And unholy behavior usually comes from frummies who are pushing and shoving at those basins.

    Best place to go for tashlich, Prospect Park Zoo!

  6. Moshe, I went back because I adore the hostess (and now her eldest daughter). She invited me, and I figured I would maximize my time in the kitchen, which did render the visit enjoyable overall.

  7. You know what you should do? Find some feminist dvar torah for next time you're there!

  8. Hmm. Moshe, maybe you're onto something. I could write one just for the occassion, tee-hee.

    But seriously, the host doesn't pause long enough to allow anyone to interject; it's part of his oratorial strategy. :p

  9. Even after washing?!
    Then use your best TV evangelist voice to interject.