Hey blogworld, long time no see, but between finals and Purim, I had neither time nor energy to spare. Nothing personal.
So anyway, I have been memed (how the heck is that conjugated?) by the ever-sharing E-Kvetcher about my thoughts during megillah reading. Fun topic, I suppose, and I think that I am once again going to be crushingly honest.
1)Watching the joy of the Haman-sneaking game, in which the reader tries to say Haman too quickly for the crowd to catch on and boo, usually resulting in one heart-stopping second when you think that you missed a word when the crowd catches up half a pasuk later, but the reader always goes back anyway. I think our reader succeeded exactly three times, which was a bit of a disappointment, since the Haman thing sort of annoys me. I mean, why does the man gets a standing ovation every time he's mentioned? It's such a random and silly-feeling minhag.
2) Wondering who the heck I'm going to find to layn megilla for the morning reading. For reasons best understood to G-d, I am the official layning co-ordinator for our Hillel, which means that I spend much time a week calling people and nagging them to please layn. (If they didn't want to be called and bothered, they could actually respond to the weekly e-mails, but I guess they enjoy the human contact of: "Hi, this is Tobie." "Hi, Tobie" "Calling about layning" "Right...what parsha is this?" every Thursday) In the end, I did get a layner for the morning, but it was probably cutting it close to have confirmed the night before.
3)Trying not to touch my hair, which is spray-painted blue (temporary dye) and feels like steel wool.
4) And yes, there were actual megilla-related thoughts too. In fact, those others were mostly during the long and annoying noise makings. Let's see...I remember thinking how darn funny the whole story was. You miss that sometimes, that it is an actual comedic story, with crazy bits like Achashverosh issuing a decree that men should rule their households, or his playing around with Haman with the whole "What should a king do for someone he likes?" thing. The megilla, I decided, really ought to make you laugh, or else you're not paying enough attention.
5) The weirdness of so much of the story. No matter how many times I learn this, there are always narrative things that just don't make sense, or that I never have noticed before. This year, the thing that popped out was the fact that the whole mess really was Mordechai's fault. I mean, looking at the story, you always read Mordechai as the hero, and I'm sure that morally he was, but in the literal sense, he was simply undoing the harm that he had done for being so silly.
6) One question that I had always had which was finally answered last year, so I was paying attention to see how well it fit into the narrative, really. I had asked one of my seminary teachers, "What is it with the whole "Mi Hu Zeh" thing? I mean, okay, he didn't know she was Jewish, but how many nations did he condemn to extinction in an average week? I mean, he couldn't make the connection there?" The answer I got was that he hadn't been aware that extermination was involved. According to this teacher, "L'Abdam" can mean to cause them pain or expel them or something like that, and it wasn't until Haman had lurked off on him own that he snuck in the parts about killing everyone. So that the whole genocide thing came as a total shock to Achashverosh. Interesting idea, and it works, I suppose, if you buy the "L'Abdam" thing. Which I don't entirely, but I still like the answer.
7)And the last thing that I was thinking is A) being neurotic about hearing every word, which is hard because not only are there babies crying, but the women in front of me are actually talking to each other! During megilla! Right in front of me! And about three feet from the layner, since it's a pretty small shul! Grrrr... and B) How funny it is that I am so very neurotic...it's interesting the way that halacha turns out. Here is this d'rabbanan mitzva (well, basically d'rabbanan..I think it's actually some more complicated category) that gives me so very much anxiety, while I get a lot less worried about a lot of others, simply because it's a difficult and exact one. Vague mitzvot are so much easier to ignore, but the second you give me some "Must hear EVERY word", I go absolutely anxiety-ridden crazy. Halacha is a funny thing.
Okay, an eclectic list, I know, and not nearly as elevated or intellectual as a lot of other people's, but then again, neither am I. I should tag someone now, right? I think...well...the only real reader left is Mike, so I reckon it'll be him. Enjoy!