Wednesday, February 21, 2007

459. Fine twisted linen

You gotta love those Masoretes. Of course, while engaged in the process of codifying and annotating the ancient melodies to which Torah had been chanted for centuries, they wanted to be accurate and faithful to tradition. But would it have been so hard to keep me in mind just a little bit, the poor future soul who would need to sing the word for "copper" (nehoshet) approximately 15 times in one paragraph of Parashat Terumah, and who might breathe a little easier if just a few instances of that word were set to the same melody? But no. Maybe two or three sentences about basins, hooks, and firepans could sound alike, so they might be a little quicker to memorize? Never. That would diminish from the beautiful complexity of the story of the construction of the Mishkan. What was I thinking.

My repetitive 16-verse tongue-twister was, nevertheless, fun to learn. I may have trouble focusing as visions of acacia wood, silver poles, fine twisted linen, and blue, purple and crimson yarns dance in front of the words the scroll, but if it were too easy I'm sure those Masoretes would be rolling over in their graves. They knew that without the challenge, Torah would be just another interesting story.


Update 2/22: Here's a wonderful d'var Torah about Parashat Terumah from the folks at Storahtelling. The Mishkan as Shekhinah--and the original synagogue Sisterhood.

1 comment:

alto artist said...

Very cool! It's wonderfully satisfying to read the same section more than once; you'll feel like you own it afterwards. I know you'll do great! Yes, this is certainly one of the trickier parts to chant (I'm always relieved when Bereshit rolls arund, with its nice, easy names and stories with familiar words. And I tear my hair out once again when we get to Vayikra...). I'm reading 27:1-16.