Our BS, eh?

A Canadian's musings on life in RBS-A (Ramat Beit Shemesh Aleph), Israel and whatever else I feel like writing about.

Monday, February 15, 2010

A V'nahafoch Hu Shacharis

It's Rosh Chodesh Adar, and in these 2 days I experienced an interesting sort of v'nahafoch hu at Shacharis. At the local minyan factory, the gabbaus is unpredictable, which is to say non-existent until someone stands up and does something. I'll give you an example. Here in Israel, it's common for a minyan to have no shliach tzibur for p'skukei d'zimra, but for someone to step up for Yishtabach at a set time, in this case, 15 min. after the official start time of the minyan. When someone's a chiyuv, you can count on starting on time, because he's up there. Otherwise, it's a hem and haw game until someone finally gets tired of the finger pointing - No, you go. No, you do it - and goes up there. On a good day, someone will start the finger pointing a few minutes in advance so that it's been decided by the real start time.

Yesterday, someone was on the ball enough to tap me on the shoulder a minute early and point in the direction of the amud, indicating I should daven. I can't stand standing around doing nothing, so I went up. Of course this person who appointed me wasn't taking the entire role of gabbai that morning, so after Hallel and by the time I brought the Sefer Torah to the bimah, there was no one there to call up the aliyos. Except me, since the baal kriyah and I were the only ones up there. So not only did I lead Shacharis, I was the gabbai too.

Tangent: Being gabbai is the greatest power trip in the world. You get to decide who's important enough to get an aliyah, who's strong enough to do hagbah and who's too wimpy and can only get gelilah. You choose people you like, people you feel sorry for since they probably never get anything, etc. Such unilateral power to validate or invalidate a person first thing in the morning! It's better than being a customs officer at the Canada - US border.

OK, back to my story. By the time we finished Torah reading, I, now being the ever-powerful gabbai, had to find someone to daven Musaf. This is done simply by announcing, "Musaf! Musaf!" Of course, no one immediately stepped up. Finally the baal kriyah said he would do it. So that day's responsibilities were shared by the 2 of us. I did Shacharis and was the gabbai, he leined and davened Musaf.

Today I found ourselves at the very same minyan once again. (Which minyan I go to depends on many factors, and it's not always the same one.) Once again we found ourselves at Yishtabach time and no one stepped up to the plate. Finally, "they all" looked at me as if to say, "Nu, would you just go already?" Well I really didn't want to daven Shacharis and Hallel 2 days in a row, but it was now 3 minutes past the official Yishtabach time. I sort of grunted and started walking up to the amud. On the way, I passed my buddy, the baal kriyah from yesterday. I tried the same tactic on him - pointed. He shrugged and took the amud.

This gave me an idea. As he finished Hallel and carried the Sefer Torah to the bimah, I said to him, "Let's switch. This time you be gabbai and I'll lein." He said ok. After leining, I once again called out for a volunteer for Musaf. Of course, no one. So I did it.

And that's my v'nahafoch hu story.

Day 1:
Me - Shacharis, gabbi
The other guy - leining, Musaf

Day 2:
The other guy - Shacharis, gabbai
Me - leining, Musaf

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