The Observant Astronomer

The passing scene as observed by an observant Jew, who daylights as an astronomer.

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Thursday, October 06, 2005

Duchening

This is one of those customs that just never seems to work for me.

Here we are, on one of the solemnest or most joyous days of the year. The Cohanim, heirs to the holiness of Aaron HaCohen, venture to the front of the shul to do their hereditary mitzvah and bless the congregation. Little children, down to babes in arm, crowd into the men's section, trying to find their fathers amongst the crowd of tallis wearing men. Your beloved children gather around you, and, with the conclusion of Modim, you extend your arms, lift the tallis, and protectively cover the wee ones as you listen to the ancient melody and holy blessing, mind filled with all the proper kevanahs. The children, down to the babe in arms, are still, quiet, nay, attentive, facing forward and answering "Amen" as appropriate.

Or, at least that's what's happening under everyone else's tallis.

Under mine, not a one of them is standing still. This one is sitting down. That one is pulling his sister's hair and she turns around to complain. The other one keeps ducking in and out, unable to keep still. The baby can't stand to be covered up under that stuffy wool blanket. I try to keep them covered, but they won't have it. All the movement is causing the tallis to fly all over the place, ending up heading to the floor as I grab it with the hand not holding the baby, as my yarmulke, pulled off by the tallis, heads down to the floor. The toddler has had enough, starts screaming, and heads out.

Ribbono shel Olam, forgive my unruly children. We need all the brochas we can get.

5 Comments:

Blogger PsychoToddler said...

Ha! You're describing my family to a tee. At least 5 or more years ago. Now I have a bunch of teenagers off in Yeshiva. But before, it was a challenge to get 5 of them standing still under the tallis. And every so often, the girl (youngest, of course) would turn around and punch each of her brothers in the stomach. "Pow! For YOU and for YOU and for YOU!" There were a lot of snickering sounds emanating from under my tallis.

9:08 PM, October 06, 2005  
Blogger Rebeljew said...

And what is the whole "dreams" thing during duchaning? Is it about nightmares? And if so, why should I care what "others dream about me"?

2:45 PM, October 14, 2005  
Blogger The Observer said...

What makes you think I can think about dreams while all that racket is going on? Hold onto a siddur? I've got a struggling toddler in one hand, I'm holding the tallis up with a second hand, I'm keeping the peace with another hand, and you want me to hold a siddur and read a paragraph about dreams? Dream on.

12:05 AM, October 16, 2005  
Blogger Shlomo said...

Just imagine yourself one of those batlanim in shul who doesn't pay any attention to his children at all. Then you will not only have a couple of free hands, but maybe some brain left over for kavana!

3:31 PM, November 10, 2005  
Blogger Shlomo said...

Rebel Jew,

Rumor has it that a few of the veibelach are dreaming about you. Are you sure you want them to stop?

3:33 PM, November 10, 2005  

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