Tuesday, January 12, 2010

883. Upside-down cattle disease

One of the reasons I love chanting Torah is because it allows me to write sentences like this:

Today I woke up early and spent an hour singing about boils and cattle disease.

(This coming Shabbat I'm reading part of Parashat Va-era. Of course, these are nowhere near the most graphic verses in the Torah. The worst I've personally intoned were a few years ago in Parashat Metzora.)

(About that dever: I've always thought of it as "upside-down cattle disease," because the illustration in the haggadah I used a child was of a cow on its back with its feet sticking up in the air.)

I can't believe we're nearing Sinai once again; Bereshit and the creation of the universe doesn't seem far enough away. Every year the cycle of Jewish holidays feels more and more like a roller coaster, a slow ride up after Simhat Torah that reaches a pinnacle on Shavuot, when we receive the Torah as free people and enjoy the scenery as we make our way back down.

It's always a little odd, though, that we read this portion a few months before Pesah. Maybe the ancient rabbis scheduled it to allow us ample time to ponder our fate and get in the mood for matzah. Whatever the reason, I get to to sing—not just once, but twice this Shabbat—"Let My people go that they may worship Me!"

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