Monday, September 27, 2010

Christological Artscroll

Some congregations say extra piyutim, or yoztrot, on Sukkot.  The very first one, said at the beginning of the Reader's repetition on the first day's Shachris, connects Yom Kippur with Sukkot.

"We're here," the poem says (paraphrased) because we survived the judgment on Yom Kippur. Sinners have been destroyed, and Satan has been turned aside, and all we have before us is the joy of the holiday and the chance to do God's will." The lulav and esrog are mentioned, and though I forget the specifics, I know (because I quadruple checked) that there's nothing in the poem to support how the Artscroll commentary takes it.

According to the Artscroll commentary, the poem claims that the lulav and esrog are held up as a sign of our victory over Satan. If it were actually in the poem, this would be astounding as it seems like a clear reference to the cross, what it symbolizes, and how its used. But as I say, I don't think the text supports this reading. So it wasn't the mideival Jewish poet who l tried to connect his lulav and esrog to the artifacts of the surrounding culture.  It was Artscroll -- which is astounding enough, I suppose. 

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