HOLIDAY GREETINGS FROM BARRY
Well, happy Succot everybody.
. . . Is anybody there to hear? So many of you went vacationing abroad. If you didn’t, you’re probably spending most of your free time checking that your Arravos (little willow branches) haven’t dried up in the unseasonable heat. Either you’re in one group or the other. Thus the Succot festival, which is supposed to be a time of unity for our people, succeeds in pushing us further apart.
Not long ago I was present at the telling of a joke. The punch line of the joke is, “MMM mmmm, MMM, MMMM!!!” , and I’ll be glad to tell it to you whenever you come by, because, in all fairness, it has a certain visual element that doesn’t come over in print. I didn’t hear anybody laughing at the above punch line. You had to be there. But not only would you have had to be there, but you had to be from the kippa wearing sector ( or whatever it’s called for girls), otherwise, no way would this joke go over and you would have just looked around wondering what was going on. I’m sure you can find lots of similar examples, whatever social lane you move in.
Today I am tagged a Kippa wearing Jew; Once I was not, and I tried to remain close to friends from the ‘old days.’ But hard though we try, it is harder and harder to find what to say to each other (aside from ‘Why are you destroying the country?’) We are moving away from each other like flea stars on and expanding beagle universe.
What can one lone humorist do? Not much. It’s beyond my ken(or barbie). But I can start off in my own little ETNI pond, and so, I have prepared a short treatise for English teachers on the significance of Succot customs, appropriately entitled --
Meanim in English
The concept of unity is central to Succot. Our Rabbis tell us that in the End of Days, our people will dine in one gigantic Succa! Of course, with my luck, they’ll serve our table last and they’ll be all out of Leviathan.
Where were we? Oh yeah:
The theme of unity runs through the four ‘species’ of Succot.
POP QUIZ: Can you name the four species? Can your students? Be careful when you bring the subject up in class, because in Hebrew it’s Arba Meanim, which our precocious MTV fed pupils will translate as the four sexes, immediately start arguing about the relative capabilities of Dana International and Omer Barnea, and your lesson is in the Past Fardrippete tense.
The four species designate different types of Jews that make up the national composite, even if you don’t like inviting some of them over for dinner. For us teachers of the English language, or is that for we teachers of the English language?-- they have their equivalents in the Four Domains of English instruction that meld into one Integrated Curriculum. Fartharmar, each of the four minim has a unique feature -- either taste, or fragrance, or both, or neither – which exactly matches the four different distracters of the multiple choice test item: A, B, all of the above and none of the above! .
The Lulav, or date palm – the Domain of Presentation, as it proudly waves its stately frond in the air and offers us a yearly presentation of the fruit of its endeavors.
The Arrava, or willow has no taste or odor to distract us as we Access Information. Its long branches direct us to a nearby body of water, a virtual fount of knowledge.
Hadass, of course, is social interaction, I cherish fond memories of Hadass, with whom I did great social interaction in ’74. I hear that she now has 3 kids and lives in Rehovot, but she hasn’t returned my calls in twenty –five years. Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to tease her by spelling her name with a ‘B’.
A propos hadassim, to quote from an E-steamed Rabbinical source, ‘The leaves of hadassim grow in groups of three. To be kosher, each of the three leaves of each group must emanate from the same nodule on the branch.’ * Thus the Hadass alludes to the unity of the New Bagrut Examination, comprised of three separate nodules.
We are left with the Etrog, or citron, or etrog, or citron, (die Kvar!) which represents the French Automotive industry, as well as the domain of Appreciation of Literature and Language. You have to hand it to any language that could come up with words like ‘citron’ or ‘etrog’ for a dried out lemon, as they both sound like names for evil robot usurpers in a Sci-Fi epic: Remove these puny humans! The ETROG will know how to deal with them!
Unlike other fruits, which have a specific flowering and growing season, little Etrogs develop slowly. They hang on to the tree for a whole year, demanding our constant attention, enduring season after season, until they finally fall off. In this respect they are like so many of our students.
Once we have obtained all four species, we bind them all tightly in a copy of the New Bagrut. (The hiddur mitzva, is to use modules E or G, especially Moed Alef, although any Moed is Kosher). Then, with all our strength, we shake them vigorously in all directions, thinking, if I could get my hands on those who dreamed this up, this is what I’d do to you. And this is what I’d do to you.
Barry Lulove -and Kisses –Silverberg
* A Rabbinical Source: found on the ‘net, used without permission. That’s what she’s so E-steamed up about!