24 September 2006

Divine Inspiration




Those of you who daven Nusach Sfard are familiar with the optional Tefillah that is recited during the "Kesser" in Mussaf on the Yomim Noraim. Customarily, the Chazan elongates the word Ah-yay while the individual gets to recite a personal Tefilla. Ashkenazim, you don’t know what you’re missing. This is your chance on the holiest days of the year to ask for it all; Wealth, Proper Children & Ruach Hakodesh (divine inspiration). It's all up for grabs. The “catch” is that you’ve got to fit in your words while the Chazan is still singing Ah-yay. After all, that's what it says in the Machzor, right? As a child, I raced through the words in an attempt to get my tefilos in under the bell. But alas that’s simply impossible. Eventually, I realized that to do it right, I needed to ask for just one; after all, I kept missing the bell and who knows, maybe I’d get none of my Tefilos answered. If I don't finish on time maybe it's a hefsek and I'm not Yotse Kedusha? And God Forbid, maybe it's even a Hefsek for the Tekiyas! Typical Angst

Anyhow, who was I kidding, it clearly states in the Machzor, that you can only ask for one – Either wealth, good kids or Divine wisdom.

I hit upon the ultimate Talmudic solution. Three Days - Three Tefillas – one for each! Perfect. But alas, as I got even older, as a serious young man, I again figured who am I kidding, obviously God wants me to choose! If not, the Machzor Rabbis would have simply established one Tefillah with everything in it and the Chazan would do his Dreidlich for another 30 seconds.

I decided to go with the life stage approach. Just like in mutual funds, they now have “Target funds” depending on your age; I would do the same. Man, I was way ahead of my time.

So as a young newly wed, I went for the dough; and I must say, I succeeded beyond my wildest dreams. No, I'm not wealthy but I never did have great financial aspirations. As life got more serious, I indeed moved into the next stage to pray for “proper Children”. I can’t say I was disappointed there either, but then, unexpectedly, something happened. A mentch tracht uhn Gut Lacht.
You see, I had planned to stay in stage two at least until I turned 60 or 55, but then God started playing tricks with me. See, he introduced me to a whole new world. That forced me to prematurely shift into phase three asking for divine inspiration; to really try to understand what God wants. I needed help to get out of this skeptic mess. And you know, I think I’m finally getting that divine inspiration.

It’s just inspiration of a different sort.

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    18 Comments:

    At September 25, 2006 3:06 PM, Blogger happywithhislot said...

    i tell my son by slichos, its not important to finish the passage with the oilam. simply say the words from the beginning, slowly and correctly. if the oilam moves on, so do you.

     
    At September 25, 2006 4:13 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Happy, I sense that you're Nusach Sfard and I take it you say the tefilla for bonim Hagunuim; hmmmm, does that include girls?

     
    At September 25, 2006 5:08 PM, Blogger happywithhislot said...

    i daven nusach sfard in my boro park days but the minyanim where i live now are mostly ashkenaz.
    but i confess i dont recall where that tefillah is (when do we say it?).

    i think bonim can be understood as children in generic terms.

     
    At September 25, 2006 5:22 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    In Mussaf during Kesser. I guess you say Naaritscha.

     
    At September 25, 2006 6:30 PM, Anonymous Jewish skeptic said...

    BH,
    I don't have all those problems.
    I don't daven.

     
    At September 25, 2006 7:18 PM, Blogger Irviner Chasid said...

    I have always prayed for divine inspiration.... with divine inspiriation the other two fall into place!

     
    At September 25, 2006 7:45 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    JS, no wonder you're such a scholar, You have all this extra time for learning!!!

    Anyhow, I wanted to clarify something about Lakewood and secular material in my kids home; I saw you asked LY similiar questions; i.e. is he exagerating for affect. When I say no secular material, they will have a newspaper in the house, but only something like Yated neeman, and that's it. They don't even listen to the news on the radio anymore, but they don't come out and say so. It's a sad state of affairs. But then again, maybe this way they won't end up like you and me. And their lives can be just as fulfilling and happy. Everything but enlightened and it's no Mitsva to be enlightened.

     
    At September 25, 2006 7:48 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    > I have always prayed for divine inspiration.... with divine inspiration the other two fall into place!

    IC, so that explains all your knowledge, you're a regular Shlomo Hamelech! (You are famaliar with that Medrash, right?)

     
    At September 25, 2006 8:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    BHB, how did you fast?

    Or did you sneak a couple bites when no one was looking?

     
    At September 25, 2006 8:51 PM, Blogger happywithhislot said...

    bhb
    i looked it up in my sfard siddur.
    obviouly bonim means boys.

    i never noticed this before, because i was always too busy turning the pages to get to the end of the kedusha. (all those filler pages with repeats of the last part you said)

     
    At September 25, 2006 8:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    >BH,
    I don't have all those problems.
    I don't daven.

    JS, you sound so proud of yourself. as proud as a little boy playing hookey.

     
    At September 25, 2006 9:56 PM, Blogger Billie Jean said...

    I haven't davened proper Sfard for a long time. But I have the same problem with the prayers for when the chazan 'ayayays' in Birkat Kohanim. I just stopped saying those.

    Whenever there are bits in davening about banim I always substitute biti. I don't have any boys so it seems fair enough. I also say ishi, I won't call my husband baali.

     
    At September 25, 2006 11:44 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Anon, just one ;)
    Happy, yes, it does, like it always really means boys. Girls like just didn't exist.

    >also say ishi, I won't call my husband baali
    BJ, Interesting, I should daven one day and pay attention to see what's it like from a woman's perspective. My wife gets upset at some of those kind of things too, but she never mentioned that one.

     
    At September 26, 2006 3:56 PM, Blogger Irviner Chasid said...

    Umm, Banim is the plural for both males and females... Herbrew grammer is sexist that way....

    I just bought my Fiance the Artscroll Women's siddur for her birthday.. It take s care of all those issues. (neat marketing gimmic I must say)

    As for the shlomo hamelech story... That was one of the first midrashes I ever learned that I can remember clearly. I would not compare myself to him though, although his books of the Nach are my favorite.

     
    At September 26, 2006 3:57 PM, Blogger Irviner Chasid said...

    I always liked shlomo more than King David.

     
    At September 26, 2006 5:16 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    IC, well Shlomo Hamelch is a great model for a hero. Yes, we all agree that in the Hebrew grammar, Bonim means girls as well. But why shouldn't the Teffila be sensitive and say Banim Ubanos?

     
    At September 30, 2006 11:09 PM, Blogger Billie Jean said...

    Also, when the tefilla talks about the banim growing to be great talmidim etc, you can pretty much assume they're talking about boys only.

    I haven't seen the Artscroll women's siddur. But I have particular issues with its women's Niddah book, which just takes out all the references, minority opinions, and all the interesting stuff. It's all an assumption that women can't work that stuff out.

    My siddur has a few modifications for women, but nothing too extensive. Better than most, though.

     
    At September 30, 2006 11:23 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    >Also, when the tefilla talks about the banim growing to be great talmidim etc, you can pretty much assume they're talking about boys only.


    That's for sure. Women's role clearly was one for child rearing and housekeeping. It's only now with the advenct of Kolel that women are suddenly "encourage" to work.

     

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