Friday, May 11, 2007

Counting the Omer Day 38 - 5 weeks, 3 days

Today is Tiferet she b'Yesod - a day of compassion in a week of foundation.

I can't write much today because I have to spend a lot of time learning to chant the first four portions of tomorrow's Torah reading. I won't bore you with the details of why I have to learn so much in so short an amount of time--I just have to buckle down and do it.

I'll give you an idea of what this entails. First of all, realize that when I read from the Torah scrolls, there are no vowels on the Hebrew, nor are there any punctuation marks. So I need to know how to say the words correctly plus where the sentences end without any visual aids. Those are the most important aspects of the reading, and something the gabbai will correct if I make a mistake. Then there's the trope--the musical phrases--that are specifically designated and are learned using a book that has the Torah with the cantillation marks. Those markings are not in the scroll, but no one will correct me if I get the chanting wrong. The words and the sentences are what's most important, since the whole reason for this is to have the community hear the Torah being read.

So off I go to study. I'll use the sephirot of this day for support. I need to have compassion for myself, and know that even with some mistakes--okay, a lot of mistakes--it will be fine. When I'm chanting Torah, the foundation of my beliefs, I feel the words in a deep way, and I give others entrance into that experience that can only come with an oral tradition.