Friday, March 02, 2007

461. A complete idiot

Judging by my past history, I should know better than to try and write any posts, or even a grocery list, during the week before Purim. In 5768 I'll put a "Gone Fishin'" sign on this blog during the second week of Adar, and officially resume after the holiday. I've been spending my free time learning chapter 5 of Esther, and successfully dredging chapters 4 and 6 from my long-term memory. The Torah reading for Sunday morning, however, remains as slippery as un-set Jello, and tonight and tomorrow afternoon I need to apply a quick freeze. But it's short, with a lot of familiar names like "Moshe," so all will be well.

I have a costume. I will look like a complete idiot. But so will everyone else (I hope), so I'm OK with that.

At this time of year I'm always surprised by the renewed gratitude I feel for my synagogue community. Maybe it's because I remember that Purim is at the midpoint between one Yom Kippur and the next, and begin to take stock and count my blessings. Or that the evening's sheer silliness shocks me into noticing how human and wonderful my rabbis and friends really are. For whatever reason, I always walk into a Sanctuary filled with people in funny hats and need to hold onto a chair for fear of being knocked to the floor by waves of thankfulness. I recently read a post on another blog about a rabbi who castigated a congregant for giving an impromptu d'var Torah at a community gathering. The congregant was upset, but later acknowledged that he was being inappropriate, that only the rabbi had the authority to speak of such things. My first reaction to these words was anger; how can any kind of personal, spiritual growth happen among people discouraged from voicing their opinions? And then I felt sad for the congregant who was OK with being silenced. Then I stopped myself and acknowledged that every community has its strengths and weaknesses, and what is utterly wrong for one might be perfect for another. I have no right to judge. But I am allowed to be doubly grateful for my synagogue, where everyone is valued for being as loud or quiet about sharing ideas as we want.

To conclude on a more Purim-appropriate note, see this article, having nothing to do with anything, which opens with the world's best-ever introductory paragraph of a news item:

Local jazz musician injured...

Happy Purim, and may we all follow the wise injunction of the Talmud and drink until we can't tell the difference between "Cursed be Haman," "Blessed be Mordechai," and a roller skating stripper from Lodi, NJ...

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