Elul, to date, has been a marathon. Since last I wrote, I chanted Torah on Monday and again on Shabbat (featuring a whole new set of mistakes not revealed on Mon., but it went well just the same). The mother of a good friend passed away on Tues., and so I stood out in the 95 degree heat for many hours on Thurs. at the funeral. (Not complaining. Life and death do not pay attention to the availability of shade.) This morning, led minyan for the first time ever since everyone on the long list of usual leaders, plus a large number of rabbis, were all on vacation. Singing in front of a thousand people while standing next to a rabbi is a lot easier than leading the entire service for seventeen all by myself, complete with those short ending and beginning parts, which is why I never did it before. (And I'm still unable to read anything quickly in Hebrew without practicing for a bit, even after all these years, but have learned how to fake as needed.) The cantor, as always, judged my abilities better than I could. After a few moments of initial panic at the request, I realized he wouldn't have asked me if I were comfortable leading unless he knew I would be--and, after a couple of hours of cramming and singing along with his ethereal voice on a CD, I was. And I had fun, too.
Came home, collapsed on the sofa, did some work, and then led Minha at the shiva minyan for my friend's mother, Now I have a Sinai-sized mountain of work to finish over the next two days, but will sleep for a couple of hours first--and no doubt dream of many different kinds of nusah, just as I did last night.