Tuesday, September 18, 2007

527. How can it be Sukkot next week?

Having overdosed on prayer, breast-beating, and whatever I can stuff into my mouth at the break-fast, I always think I'm done with the holiday marathon after Yom Kippur, but... no. Sukkot takes me by surprise year after year. I was reminded this afternoon courtesy of a P.S. on an email: "BTW, do you know how to chant Kohelet?" Not yet, but bring it on. I've heard the tune so often (it's also used for Ruth on Shavuot and Shir haShirim on Pesah) that I can almost sing it even before studying the trop. And Kohelet, unlike Torah or Esther, is not read from a scroll, whew, where you have to memorize the vowels and melody. I can mark up a xerox to my heart's content and take it to the bima.

I'm always surprised by the slow, reflective mournfulness of the Shalosh Regalim melody, less happy even than Eikha (Lamentations), which always sounds incongruously lilting. But it's not as ominous as the haftarah, or upbeat and decisive as Torah trop. I imagine we're supposed to remember that while we rejoiced during these three holidays, someone on the other side was probably suffering.

One more trop to go (High Holy Day) and then I'll know the whole megillah, so to speak. I'm psyched to learn something new in honor of the new year. (Never mind that I'll be singing about futility; I don't necessarily agree with Mr. Kohelet, although he certainly had a way with words.)


Phyllis Sommer said...

isn't it amazing how the holidays just do seem to keep piling on? i too feel like i let out a deep breath after yom kippur only to be socked in the gut by putting up my sukkah the next day...and the wonder of the sukkot ideas...suddenly after days spent inside the synagogue, we spend days outside (hoping that it doesn't rain!) contemplating the nature that seems to have changed overnight while we were inside on yom kippur!

alto artist said...

Yes!--somehow it's always summer during Yom Kippur, but magically becomes fall right at the start of Sukkot no matter what the temperature outside. I never notice that the leaves are falling until I'm sitting in the sukkah.,.. Thank you so much for reading and commenting!