Thursday, December 23, 2010

Presenting a fabulous new ode to the holidays written by G.A.

What was it like to live in Mainz c1000 when the Kolonymous family of piyut writers were active? How did it feel to read one of their liturgical masterpieces for the first time, and realize that you were holding something brand new that would undoubtedly withstand the test of time?  Read this new poem by G.A and see for yourself.

A fabulous new ode to the holidays written by G.A.

Twas the night before Cratzmach—Nittel Nacht, as it’s known,
And as my wife cleared the table, and I sat alone,
I pondered how to spend this long Friday eve,
Torah learning being forbidden on this annual reprieve.

That new Halacha Sefer would just have to wait,
And I hoped that in the meantime I didn’t violate,
One of the many prohibitions, an ever-growing list,
In that tome so heavy it could snap off your wrist.

It seemed as if each week a new Chumrah emerged,
Another vegetable outlawed or triple-washing urged;
A book or a song or technology banned,
By some Kol Koreh or Rabbi’s command.

Did we really need Hechshers on water and ice?
(And even if we did, wouldn’t one suffice?)
There were bans on music—both Jewish and non,
Bans on the sites to which we could log on.

Bans on produce and on non-Kosher phones,
(Although the ban on tax fraud seemed to be postponed.)
Bans on what views qualified as Mesorah,
All duly determined by omniscient Daas Torah.

When will it end, I thought to myself,
And as I gazed at my Seforim, asleep on their shelf;
I set aside these thoughts; they must be a test,
After all, our Gedolim surely know best.

I dimmed my KosherLamp and headed up to bed,
While visions of Kefirah danced in my head;
When all of a sudden, the stillness was shattered;
I ran to the window to see what was the matter;

When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a flying old wagon, pulled by eight reindeer;
The wagon had seen better days, and it showed,
And there on its side blinked a light—“Sabbath Mode.”

Like eight soaring eagles, his reindeer they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:

"Now, Shmuel! now, Amos! now, Yona and Yeshayahu!
On, Nachum! on, Micha! on, Chagai and Yirmiyahu!

As I watched in amazement they circled my roof,
And gracefully landed on padded split hoofs.

I had heard all the legends but still was confused,
Since when did Santa start visiting Jews?
But it soon became clear that this wasn’t Saint Nick,
It was the prophet Elijah, his beard long and thick.

“So sayeth the Lord,” boomed my surprise late-night guest.
He’s sent me to tell you that He’s none too impressed.
While Chumras proliferate and bans, they abound;
His eternal message remains to be found.

Treat all of your fellow creations with respect,
Whether or not you share the same sect.
Be honest and true—yes, even with Goyim,
And those fruits and those veggies, go ahead and enjoy ‘em!

Don’t be a KosherLamp, hoarding its light,
But an Or LaGoyim, showing everyone what’s right.
The letter of the law is nothing without its spirit,
And let me tell you something, buddy, you’re nowhere near it.

You think He’s proud of Minyanim in jail?
Of religious Jews by the hundreds on bail?
Of scammers and thieves proudly wearing black hats?
Does the third Hechsher on your dish soap make up for that?

Before I could open my mouth to reply,
He turned his back and yelled “Gotta fly!”
I just stood there in shock, and watched him take flight,
And as the reindeer-drawn wagon faded into the night;

I stared up at the sky and wondered, confused,
Were we on the wrong track, as people, as Jews?
So caught up in the details, but missing the big picture,
Seeking God only through stricture after stricture?

Maybe it was time to take a step back,
To open up to the world around us, just a crack.
Not every development needs to be banned,
Not every new idea dismissed out of hand.

There are many types of Jews, of all different stripes,
And perhaps our shared bond should overshadow the gripes.
Could this be the message of this one night each year?
To step away from Torah, and our senses to clear?

Maybe, just maybe, it will all be allright,

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

No road of flowers lead to glory.

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