Monday, October 16, 2006


MoChassid, as usual, is being the curmudgeon, this time about Simchas Torah shtick:
I have no philosophical issue with shtick on ST. There are sources in the seforim for the idea and they go back a long, long time. [DB: You've made a reasoning error. Old and good are not synonyms.] My issue is not with kibud tefilah, etc. It's with lack of humor.Does anyone really find it funny when the chazan davens Maariv in nusach Yomim Noraim? How many times do you have to hear Hallel to rock tunes before it gets tedious? Water splashed in the face of the ba'al musaf when he says mashiv haruach u'morid hageshem...That's funny?
As a public service, here are my thoughts:

Maariv in nusach yomim noraim.
This isn't supposed to be funny. It's meant as mockery. We're puncturing the solemnity of the High Holidays, and showing the awe of the day has passed, by using its tunes for other purposes. It's a way of saying, "Thank god that's over, now lets have some fun."

Hallel to rock tunes
This isn't done to make us laugh, but to show us how clever the chazan is. When performed with wit, this still amuses.

Water splashed in the face of the ba'al musaf when he says mashiv haruach u'morid hageshem
Not funny, and thankfully out of style

Other examples of shtick:

Tying talitot
Not funny (to anyone over age 11) and also out of style

Singing as much of the tefilah as possible, often to Young Israel tunes
Not funny, but a chance for the more modern people to stick it to the holy rollers who refuse, on bogus principle, to use those tunes during the rest of the year. And who doesn't like to sing?

Funny hats
If the rebba can wear a beaver pelt 52 weeks out of the year, why can't the community jester show up on Simchat Torah in a cowboy hat or Bucharin kippa?

Faking birchas kohanim by screaming a shehakol when the chazan reaches that point in mussaf
Funny, the first time. Now lame.

Torturing the baal musaf
Funny, but this can go too far. Take away his siddur, or turn around the bima and stop there.

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