Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Day 2

So I guess I had another big post left in me.  When I am in a groove, the words just leap from my head and thankfully I type fast enough to keep up.  So now on to day two...

So for day two, I decided to undertake the part two of the learner's Shacharit.  Today we are covering a great deal more of the Pzukei D'zimra.  These are the psalms that proceed the main part of the service.  I never actually considered them as a service themselves, with a lead up to the main action and a lead down to the next part.  I had always figured them as one long lead up.  Again, my new understanding has given me yet more meaning and a desire to actually be a part of the service.  As the Nusach class continues, I hope to actually get to the point of being comfortable leading a service and perhaps when I return lead services on occasion.

Now for Ulpan day 2.  I am happy to report that I am still keeping afloat.  I am glad I reviewed like crazy the night before.  It helps so much.  I just need to review every day as much as possible.  It is the only way.  I love how the textbook loves teaching Geography.  Thankfully I am really good at that.  It is just forcing myself to read it phonetically in Hebrew.  At least we have vowels to work with for now.  I know that is only going to last another day or two.  I have become convinced phonics is really a useless way to teach a language that doesn't print its vowels.  Most of the class started with at least some phonetic ability for block Hebrew and some with script.  I know my block Hebrew phonics is excellent since I practice during services on a regular basis.  It only helps in as much as when we get new vocabulary I know how it should sound immediately.

So today during lunch while I was sitting around one of my fellow classmates invited us to the shuk this evening.  On Mondays, it is converted into a bit of a night club.  I said I would come, knowing it is a bit of a mistake.  I told myself I'll only come for a bit to see what it is.  I need to get out of the Yeshiva a little bit, don't I?  I figure I can get home at an early enough hour that I can get sufficient sleep to make it through tomorrow.

This afternoon started with the first session of Rabbi Goldfarb's Tefilah class.  We are starting to cover the service, how and why it was built.  So of course, we consult the Talmud and the Mishnah.  I always love how the Talmud resolves conflicts, everyone is right!  It may take a little tortured logic, but it can be made to work.  I have to give props to Rabbi Goldfarb for teaching a bit of Talmudic thinking into the class.  Again, I feel like I want to split myself into multiple pieces to be in every class.  I don't regret my choices, I just want to learn more.  Part of this we even get a history of the Amidah and Jewish prayer in general.  I never really considered just how old some of these prayers are.  There a great many hypotheses about the origin of the Amidah and specifically the 18 that are really 19.  Why is there actually 19? Which one is the 19th?  Yes, the questions are many.  I never thought this way before about my prayer and I don't think most have either.  Again, I want to know more.

Today was the first session of Torah chanting.  You know all those funny little symbols in your Torah book at the synagogue, well they mean something!  Now I get to find out what and how to use them.  I am tired of memorizing a recording.  It gets exponentially harder the more you need to memorize.  If I know it, I can chant more and learn it quicker. One problem, I was running out of steam.  I must apologize to my instructor if I seemed a little sleepy.  IT WASN'T YOU!  I was just that exhausted.  I forced myself to learn.  Thankfully, it was mostly introduction and not too much detail so I was able to integrate that.  We did cover a few symbols.  Somehow I was actually able to remember them after class despite my fatigue.  I suppose growing up in a musical family helps.

So I came home after, and still went to the shuk tonight.  Despite my promise of not staying long, I ended up there for over an hour and a half.  I did have a great time though dancing with my fellow classmates.  It was a great evening.  It did come with a cost.  Either I cut short sleep or I miss the learner's Minyan in the morning.  I chose the latter.  It is a simple cut my losses equation here.  There would be no way for me to handle a whole day on less than a full night's sleep.  I don't regret going out and having fun.  I just regret knowing I may miss something important and I should be there the next morning for learner's Minyan.  Our instructors put a lot of effort into doing it and I should respect that.  More than anything, I fear not learning something important.


  1. Sam, another amazing post. I think it is probably important for you to get out now and then. But, it certainly sounds like this program gives you a full plate. I think you are going to do great!

  2. love your dedication, Sam, but don't miss the social aspect......just as important to enhance the experience! your blog makes me want to visit Israel....i will, i know.

  3. You danced??? Lmao!!!! Love u.