Friday, October 14, 2005

A whole bunch of post Yom Kippur thoughts

Hashem Hu HaElokim
Of course, every Jews feels something as he shouts these words (even if you're Mis-Nagid and what you feel is revulsuion.) But that feeling isn't an end of itself. That feeling is a tool you're supposed to use going forward as a motivation for doing good deeds, learning, etc.

The goal of Yom Kippur isn't to get that feeling. The goal of Yom Kippur is to get that feeling, so that it impels you to change the way you live going forward.

Art Scroll Irritates
It took some doing, but I've determined which of the many annoying bits of the Art Scroll Commentary on the Machzor is most annoying of all. It appear near the begining of Yom Kippur Maariv: "[The piyutim are] infinitly more than inspired poetry."

Anyone know how to solve this equation?

inspired poetry^infinity=?

Didn't think so. When ArtScroll announces the piyutim are "infinitly more than inspired poetry" do they mean the authors were prophets? Does it mean those verse we read, with their rhymes, rhythems and meters, aren't really poetry, but something else? Or does it mean that the editors of Art Scroll, like too many Torah True Jews in 2005, are poetry phillistines? (Hint: "Yes" is the right answer to that question.)

The only reason the Wise Men of Chelm Art Scroll call it "infinitly more than poetry" is because they inhabit a milieu where poetry is suspect, and possibly treif. "Infinitly more than poetry" is NewSpeak, a way of hiding a frightening fact (ie: that it really is poetry, and that our community, for all it's jive about being "authentic" is failing our fathers, and making a mistake by not teaching our young people to write and appreciate poetry.)

If Elazar HaKalir, Meshullem Kolynomous, and our other leading literary lights lived today, they'd either be living miserably as Jews, with their gifts supressed and denied, or they'd be flourishing outside the Jewish community. Sadly, there's no longer a place in Torah True Judaism for a genious of letters.

My new machzor
Pace PsychoToddler, I've decided to go back to the Birnbaum- at least for Yom Kippur - after years of sipping the Art Scroll Kool-aid. I used Birnbaum yesterday, and was impressed with the commentary and the translations - especially when compared with the Art Scroll. Two examples of the differences in the commentary: (1) In the Art Scroll, several piyutim are attributed to annonymous; in the Birnbaummost of the "annonymous" authors have been identified. (2) Art Scroll insists that the acrostics have "kabbalistic" significance, and provides drivel-heavy explanataions of the method; Birnbaum tells the truth, ie: in the days before the printing press, acrostics were an essesntial memory aid.

Godol Hador Death Watch
Well? Did his blog survive Yom Kippur? And isn't it a little early in the TV season for a cliffhanger?
Update: He lives! And did you all catch him baiting me in his very, very first post-Yom Kippur post? So much for teshuvah....