Thursday, January 27, 2005


From the writings of A.P Kores*


1) In ancient times, people would sacrifice such things as cattle, incense, and virgins. Some would sacrifice their virginity. This behavior pleased the Lord, who rewarded the ancient people with all the pestilence, famine, droughts, and invading barbarians they desired.

2) After the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, the rabbis decided that the Almighty was displeased with the Jewish method of worship, which amounted to little more than tailgating outside of the Holy Temple. Reasoning that everyone should suffer, and not just the Kohens and Levi'im who always got stuck mopping up the blood and guts, the rabbinate ordered that prayers replace the ancient barbaric custom of sacrifices.

3) Prayers began with a recitation of the Sh'ma and the Shmoneh Esrei. It took eight minutes. Soon, a well-meaning yet masochist rabbi decided that this didn't cause nearly enough pain, so he composed a poem for everyone to sing. Not to be outdone, another rabbi decided that it was also necessary to read Tehilim. And a third began to write his own poems, and so on and so on until there were scarcely five minutes left in a 24-hour day that did not have some prayer to say.

4) Somewhere along the line "singing" the prayers fell out of fashion. This sped up the services, but. Jewish memory being what is, there are presently entire communities of Jews under the misapprehension that singing is "modern." [Ed note: These are the same people who think eating gbroks is modern and that the ashkenaz liturgy is modern. Math, not history, is our strong suit.]

5) Today, prayers grow with every generation as each congregation tries to outdo the others in terms of time spent praying and total prayers said. Pretty soon, we will all just have to move into Schul since there will be no point of ever going home since, by the time we got there, we'll just turn around again. [Note: I davened in a shteeble in Boro Park one sukkot, and this is exactly what happened. Morning services took so long, I almost ate my esrog]

Shira's "post party" made me think of this.

*If A.P Kores will identify himself, I'll gladly give him credit. His writings appeared in my email box this week, stuffed between the angry Letters of Protest, and the ads for manhood enhancement (which were immidiately forwarded to the authors of the Letters of Protest. Ha! Ha!)