Friday, February 26, 2010

Purim Pet Peeve

There's something really dangerous about the Purim holiday.  From my illustrations, you can guess that I'm not referring to the extra calories, usually from sugar, whether eaten in candy form or drunk in booze.

I find the noise painful.  And it's also distracting.  When I'm at a noisy reading I can't concentrate and follow the words in the Megillat Scroll of Esther.  We're supposed to listen to every word, following the words written on the page.

For some inexplicable reason people think that making noise is the big mitzvah, not listening to the Megillah.  Maybe that's connected to the very superficial "What Purim means to me" that I heard on television.

If you insist that it's important to "stamp out Haman's name," then do it right, only when his name is said.  That means that young children, too young to read the text shouldn't have groggers, noisemakers, rattles, drums, hammers etc.

Prepare for the holiday by reading Megillat Esther, especially with the kids.  Mark Haman's name on the text.  It is a book without the Name of G-d, so there isn't any problem.  Take responsibility for your children.  If they make noise at the wrong time, take away the noisemaker, and make these rules clear before Purim.

Have a Happy and Healthy Purim
Let's Defeat Our Enemies


Sammy Finkelman said...

Gragars have been used ever since I remember. This would mean the 1960s.

I don't think I've ever been at a Megillah reading where gragars are used at any other time than when -or just before - Haman's name is mentioned. If somewhere it's gotten different, something is wrong. A child too young to know WHEN to shake the gragar shouldn't have one. At least not at the same time as when the megillah is being read.

Of course it is true, this interferes with something else - hearing every word of the Megillah.

What usually happens, of course, is that the Megillah reader, has to repeat the word Haman or sometimes also a number of other words whenever the gragar is used.

There are places where the name Haman appears one after the other, so he can't go a few words without hearing the gragar.

Now I like this - using the gragar.

I think what this is, is that anything where we have something to DO - we are more likely to remember. That is what was lost with the end of the Korbanos. Because a Korban was something to do.

And whereever we have something to do Jews are more likely to observe and continue it. Just think: Pesach - getting rid of the Chametz, eating matzoh and Marror, the seder. There is a specific Mitzvah there - you do something and that guarantees something will be remembered.

Chanmukah - candles. Succot - the Succah for people who remember- it did tend to go because it was so hard to do.

So this maybe should not be knocked so much. Although perhaps maybe there could be places where gragars are not used.

Now Rosh Hashonah has nothing - except maybe tashlich (added late) and the fats on Yom Kippur is more than just a thing to do but it is to help people pray.

I don't know if the sound of a gragar is particularly bad to you.

In the United States the gragars were actually just New years Eve noisemakers with a different design. I don't know whio started making them. The Lubavichers maybe? Anyway what this did was take something mass prduced and make a little change.

I remember a giant wooden gragar that used to be in a shul.

By the way, I see taht the old gragars maybe had something that wa smore dfrom a Purim play than the megillah. A man leading another man on a horse. It does liook like it is supposed to represent haman leading mordechai but maybe could be something else. The clothing looks like I guiess what should be persian from taht time. The newest one also had a man leading anotehr man on a horse but they were more costumish and no idea maybe f a street - that definitely is more a reminder of a play or a scen than something from the megillah.

Unknown said...

Very good. Many shuls (including mine) are makpid on when and how. the baal Koreh is rvery careful and there are people who signal the little ones when to make noise and when to stop. The children do listen and have learned what to do. As a result, we can hear the megilla properly.

BTW Torah Tidbits Purim cartoons are good as well. I like the picture of Magilla Gorilla

Batya said...

Sammy, Sabba Hillel, things have gotten pretty unbearable here in our shul. Some of the shuls restrict the big noise to the first and last.
I'm going to a neighbor's in a few minutes. I prefer house readings.

Keli Ata said...

Enjoy the reading, Batya:)

Batya said...

Thanks! Here's the report so far.

Sammy Finkelman said...

Where I was it was no problem both times.

Last night, the reading was postponed till 8:15 PM so people could come by car and also of couse this way you can give Tzedakah. Someone was waiting for me to come last night so I could hand out gragars because I have some gragars. I should buy more.and thnk ahead. I should have been prepared to let a 3 year or so old boy take one home, but it was a design you can't buy now so I didn't want to. They only cost 39cents but you have to know where to get them.

There were dfferent Bal Korehs last night and ths morning but the practice is the same pretty much all the time: The Bal Koreh repeats the word Haman after the gragars.

The Ba'al Koreh this morning, who isalso the regular ba'al Koreh for Shabbos, paused right before the word Haman (or V'Haman or any words containing the name Haman) and that was more than enough.

Of course ths is an older shul, with only a few childen present, and any deterioration which happened by you didn't happen here.

Batya said...

Unfortunately the custom of horrendous noise and banging furniture exists in my shul. I don't go for megillah reading. I'll bli neder blog about my adventure on me-ander.

Hadassa (a.k.a Esther) said...

Elon Moreh had several options that you'd have liked, Batya. The Yemenites are not accustomed to making any noise. One of the smaller synagogues has the custom of making noise only at the first and last mentions of Haman. In the main synagogue the gabai controls the noise by turning on a red signal light to stop the noise. (Of course this assumes that people will obey.) And of course, there's the option that you chose. The readings in houses, and all "women's readings" that I've been to, always have about two seconds of noise for each Haman.

Batya said...

We had a variety here, too. I would have prefered some house ones which I couldn't get to because of my father.