Saturday, January 28, 2006

264. More frogs

So I chanted today, and all is well. I was just a little bit afraid that my eyes, as in November, would jump like unruly frogs to lines other than those decreed by the yad, and that my knees would buckle in response. Both stayed put, I'm glad to say. I was nervous, but to a manageable degree. I reminded myself, before I went up to the bima, that I had read in Jerusalem, which meant I could do anything.

(The reader before me also had to say hatzefard'im about a dozen times, which posed a challenge. "That's a lot of frogs," he whispered as he pointed out the place in the scroll where he left off.)

Afterwards a friend and teacher noted that the Torah uses two different forms of the plural to describe these unwanted amphibians: hatzefard'im and hatzefardea, also the term used in the Haggadah at Passover. A midrash postulates that the latter refers to one huge, initial frog who spawns myriad others, a strange and scary image. I prefer the literary interpretation; one word meant "frog life" and the other simply "multiple frogs," and the author included both to create a more interesting piece of art. Whatever the explanation, there were indeed a lot of frogs.


Regina said...

Yikes- that "one, huge initial frog" does sound scary... I swear I must have seen one of those down here in FL, though... right after a hurricane!

alto artist said...