Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What is inspired poetry?

Art Scroll Irritates
It took some doing, but I've determined which of the many annoying bits of the ArtScroll 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.

Search for more information about piyutim at 4torah.com.

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