Saturday, March 05, 2005

24. Process, part 2

When I can read the Hebrew quickly and (I hope) correctly, I copy the appropriate section from my "Ktav" tikkun, the blue one. Although it's not always the clearest, it's what I started with three years ago, and now feels like an old friend. (It's also the one the rabbis sometimes follow along with at the bima.) It's generally a pain to run out and find a Xerox machine, so lately I've scanned it and printed it out. Another new 21st century combination of technology and Torah.

I substitute the photocopy for my Treo, folding and re-folding it on the subway until it begins to disintegrate by the time I have to read at services. Now I start to learn without trop and vowel markings, which happens quickly if I'm already secure at reading the right side of the page. I used to go immediatly from right to left columns, mastering each annotated line one at a time and then moving directly to its bare cousin on the left. This lodged the words in my short-term memory, but never encouraged migration to deeper parts.

Once I can read from the left side, I give my cat, Don Carlo, great pleasure by practicing in the living room so he can roll over in a state of bliss, paws in the air and belly exposed. He loves music, particularly me and Glenn Gould. I practice in the morning before I start to work, and in the middle of the day when I take breaks. I practice at night before I go to sleep. I continue to practice the the subway, which leads to some interesting conversations ("I haven't seen that since my bar mitzvah, very cool!"). I try to learn it in B flat major, the most comfortable key (for now; I think my voice is getting higher). I take my tuning fork to services when I read, stealing an A right before I go up to the bima and attempting to hold it through the blessings, which usually doesn't work.

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