Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Birchat HaChamah Report

The Yavneh Minyan Experience.

I got to shul late, close to 6:30, with a shopping cart full of siyum food. Davened quickly, caught up by the middle of the repetition of the Amidah.

I got up to say the siyum, which we had planned as a holding action until the sun came over the buildings across from the shul yard, but then the Rabbi suggest we all go outside to Avenue M and see if the sun is visible. We all trooped outside, and it was a good thing, as the sky clouded up later.

Rabbi Sokol started mumbling the first psalm (148 - we followed the brief rite established by the Chatam Sofer in 1813, and adopted by the Vilna yeshivot), so I launched into the tune I had worked out for it (I think it's a Carlebach tune for Hallel, that one of our baalei tefillah uses regularly, so everyone could sing along), and people joined in.

Just as we said the blessing Oseh Maaseh Bereshit, aloud, in muddled unison, the sun cleared the top of the elevated Brighton Line station and burst through the clouds. We had been worried about clouds - all the weather reports were for "mostly cloudy, chance of rain." But God and His Nature cooperated, and we recited the bracha at the proper time, fully articulated.

We then sang El Adon, recited Ps 19 verse by verse, then Aleinu and Kaddish.

We returned to shul, I said the siyum (on the Yerushalmi version of Tractate Horayoth), but nobody wanted to hang around and listen to my drosho at that point, and we went & ate. Debbie had set up the food during my siyum.

Then we went out and burned stuff. The smell reminded me of huddling around the campfire for warmth on the cold July mornings at Scout camp, which led into a nice conversation with Lion of Zion's father about Camp Kunatah (The Last Kosher Scout Camp in America) Then (late 1970s) & Now (early 2000s).

Then we went home to take naps. All in all, a hectic but fulfilling experience. Standing on the streetcorner, praying aloud as a group, publicly thanking God for creating the natural order in the midst of the built environment, terrific.

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