Monday, July 26, 2010

935. Flustered

So Tisha be-Av went well, in additon to the aforementioned study. My chanting was a bit... flustered. Chapter 4 of Eikha began on the usual awkwardly high note, which I must pull accurately out of the air to insure that I don't end up somewhere deep down below where I can't reach (taking into account my tendency to go flat when chanting while sitting cross-legged on the floor). I *just* made it. My long morning Torah reading was uneventful, except for a moment during the second aliyah when I lost the trope (that I knew like the back of my hand--it happens). The rabbi, generally the best gabbai in the history of all gabbais, sang the correction clearly. But he uses a different trope than I do. Usually I can translate, but had never heard that melody before; I chose to stumble on a fairly uncommon section of the tune. He sang it again, quietly and calmly. At that point I decided to just leap off the cliff and move on to the next phrase, hoping my memory would return--which it did.

At the end of the aliyah the rabbi turned to me and whispered, "Sorry--I forgot that your trope was different!" Hello, now you know how I've felt for the past eight years. (It's not all that different, but there are two major schools of trope at my synagogue, stemming from the two people who've taught it over the years. He is one; I learned from the other.)

My third flustered incident was at Minha later that evening. I knew there were three aliyot; as the haftarah reader, the last one would be given to me. The gabbai, none other than F., came over to confirm: "Shishi [sixth aliyah]?" he whispered. Hmm, I thought, that doesn't sound right, but he had already darted away. Well, nothing is ever set in stone at my congregation; we often flout tradition, and things tend to change all the time. So at the third aliyah I just continued to sit and enjoy the scenery. Suddenly I was aware of a big silence, and everyone looking at me. Everyone. Stares really can have the force of steel beams. I noticed that both F. and the rabbi were gesturing not quite imperceptibly for me to come to the bimah. Oh, I realized... he said "shLishi" [third aliyah]. Duh. I ran up as fast as I could and apologized, because this is something one just does not do; services tend to run like clockwork. No one said a word, but I was sure they must have thought I was biggest space cadet ever. I didn't even have fasting-induced lightheadedness to use as an excuse.

(Afterwards I realized that I must not be the first person in the history of Torah chanting to mis-hear those two words. But I'm probably the first to blog about it, so there's no recorded history to assuage my feelings of guilt. Which I no longer have, thanks to a good night's sleep.)

Just a few more weeks until Elul and the start of the next marathon. Meanwhile, sitting here figuring out how to type on my brand-new and truly guilt-inducing iPad, which I sort of need for work but not really, just couldn't fight temptation any longer, listening to Pharoah's Daughter and getting in the mood for all the music to come.

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