Saturday, 10 April 2010

A Proposed Course In Liturgy using Artscoll - Module 3, Shalosh Regallim and Qinnot

BiPolars Beware!
Studying Simchat Torah to Tisha b'Av back to back may be dangerous to your emotional well-being

For others, it's just the kind of balance recommended by Qoheleth ch. 3! Times to rejoice and times to weep.

The Artscroll cycle of Shalosh Regallim Machazorim contains a wealth of liturgical text and commentary.

This Module may take longer than even Yamim Norai'I'm because - unlike the High Holidays - the Piyyutim are unfamiliar to most.

Plus there is a good chunk of supplementary Halachot and Mishnayyot. So poetry is juxtaposed with dry legalism. Another balancing act!

The Qinnot doesn't bring us much joy. But since Tisha b'Av is also a Mo"ed, it gets lumped together here. And we look forward for the day when it will join the other joyous Festivals

Plus the Torah Readings from all 4 occasions and their corresponding haftarot make for a great panorama of Jewish history - its ups and downs - from the construction of Shlomoh's Bet Hamiqdash to its destruction at the time of Yirmiyahu.

From Yehoshua's Passover until Yehezkel's vision, about 8 centuries are spanned.

And the Qinnot consist of a survey of virtually everything that has gone wrong for the Jews in History. Which makes the book both lengthy and intensely depressing. B"H we have telescoped several thousand years of suffering into a single day, and dedicated to it just one book.

But when Moshiach comes, please don't throw the Qinnot into the Geniza! There is too much history and poetry to ignore. Knowing from whence we came is a function of the Passover Seder - from Servitude into Freedom

Similarly when Mosiach comes keep your Qinnot to fulfill remembering "miyagon lesimcha; mei'evel leyomtov"

The Artscroll gives a vast amount of background on both the Qinnot and their composers. I find nothing finer to highlight the sheer multi-tasking genius of El'azar haQallir, then to see his embroidered 6-part acrostic structures - while simultaneously weaving several scriptural themes into the mix. Had Qallir been a chess grandmaster he probably could have handled a hundred concurrent matches.

Beyond the Qallir, an entire line of rabbis follow, from Maharam miRothenburg to R Shimon Schwab. It's too rich an anthology of Rabbinic thought in verse to miss out.

I don't know how long it would take to complete all 3 modules - but lo alecha ham'lachah ligmor.


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