But the puzzle fit together after a few more classes. In the tradition of children beginning the study of Torah, we first attempted to connect the trop phrases by reading the opening lines of Vayikra: "Vayikra el Moshe v'yidaber Adonai elav meh ohel mo'ed." "And God called to Moses, and God spoke to him from the tent of meeting." Since we were learning this new thing in the middle of our lives, in an uptown apartment of meeting, starting in the middle of the book seemed perfectly appropriate.
We got out our highlighters and Xerox copies and stumbled through, understanding why the parents of thirteen-year-olds always looked so proud. It was also very exciting for me to acquire a new skill that didn't involve a computer or yelling on the phone. Then came the hard part. Knowing how to sing the trop when it was all strung together into a melody was only half the job, since none of the markings are in the scroll itself--no sibling partnerships of vowels, dots or upside-down apostrophes, not even punctuation. Just one long, naked, inspired sentence. Thankfully, there are paragraphs; Moses cut us a little slack.