I’m a bit pressed for time at the moment (what else is new) so we’re going to do an abbreviated recap of Pesach. Fortunately Pesach was somewhat less eventful since this time since as opposed to last year I went with a completely cleared schedule. This allowed for a slightly more relaxed and disorganized trip best recapped in the Bullet Points of Randomeness below the jump:
- No forgettable dating stories like last year, but I’m sort of annoyed that I need to defend my aversion to drive-by-dating (or flyby?). Seriously, I’m in the country for two weeks with only a few days of Hol Hamoed. Why would I want to waste what little time I have on a stranger whom I’d likely never see again?
- Seder Highlight 1: A fooling around Eli pretended to go to sleep on his pillow which prompted Shelomoh to admonish, “No Eli! Don’t be like one of the sons!”
- Seder Highlight 2: While reenacting the makkot with finger puppets Hadassa tells Shelomoh, “we don’t need kinim; I already have lice!”1
- One of the things I brought for the kiddies was a three pack of Transformers for Shelomoh. All I can say is that I have such nostalgia for the old days. My transformers had metal, were well built, and east to transform (not to mention that the Megatron gun rocked). This new generation? All plastic, prone to annoying popoff limbs, and needlessly complicated to transform. Ah well, at least Shelomoh doesn’t know the difference and was thoroughly excited and even got to outsmart his Imma:
- In another contrast from last year, we didn’t go to the kotel for birkat kohanim (we thought we were but got the date wrong). Instead, the clan ventured up the Super Fun Happy Slide:
As it turns out this wooden walkway leads up to Har Habayit. However, be forwarned that religious people may have some trouble. I was stopped at the bottom because of my mini Steinsaltz. Initially I thought this was a political thing with Steinsaltz, but apparently there’s a big problem in doing anything Jewishly religious on the temple mount.2 Still, you don’t want to mess with them because they have their own set of “magen david’s” up there:
- I did make a return trip the day after Pesach and lets just say it was just not the same:
With fewer humans around I noticed the various wildlife around the kotel, specifically the kotel birds:
Another time I found a cute cat meowing for a taste of a families’ lunch:
Given more time I’d write something witty about the animals of the Old City, but I’ll leave that as an exercise for the reader.
- There’s something profoundly ironic in seeing a Kohelet micrography hanging in a jewelery store.
- Some pics of the niblings, likely not to be seen a calendar this year:
- In Allon Shevut Shir Hashirim was read from a klaf with a beracha “asher kiddishanu bemitzvotav v’tzivanu al mikra megillah.” I don’t remember this being the practice, but regardless, I cannot justify saying the beracha.
- Points to ElAl for including in their radio programming Bob Marley’s Pesach appropriate “Redemption Song”
- Bonus points to ElAl for playing “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” two songs later, no doubt in tribute to Easter.
1. In fairness to my sister, who incidentally keeps a fantastic household, not everyone in Israel is so concerned with hygiene and specifically how they send their kids to school.
2. For the sordid legal details of this issue, see David Frankel’s article “The Temple Mount – Access and Prayer.”
Actually, it is the common custom to make a beracha “al mikrah megilla” any time a megilla is read from a klaf. I have seen it done with shir hashirim, rut, kohelet, and aicha, in addition to ester (which we are all familiar with).
I don’t understand how you cannot justify the beracha: it is a simple description of the event that follows, which is a mitzvah derabbanan, hence the beracha.
PS: Where are the footnotes to this post?
Gavi – Thanks for the tip about footnotes. Just fixed.
Regarding the megillah, the problem is that with the exception of Esther there is no Rabbinic commandment/enactment to read them at any time (obviously there is no Biblical one either). It is purely a matter of custom for which, despite other instances where we ignore this law (e.g. Hallel Rosh Hodesh), we have no business making a birkat mitzvah. See Yabia Omer O.C. 1:29 for one example.
Are you Orthodox?
Ariane S. – Good question. Officially yes, but if forced into a label I prefer the term Shomer Torah.
May I have your e-mail? I have to talk to a Rabbi.
Thank you for the attention.