Thursday, December 25, 2008
The Kiddush Club
We Jews avoid pubs and other places where the goys drink themselves insensible. We have our kiddush clubs. In other words, we drink in the synagogue and the tisch (Table = dinner with the rabbi). Davening (praying) - in our case, the recitation of interminable Hebrew and Aramaic texts - is most painful for an active mind. Much more so for one like me who understands and analyses what is being read - it is sheer torture. Jewish payers have two modes: one of Oriental flattery, the second of trying to trap God into not punishing us. The adulation mode consists in declaring in public how big, how all-powerful, how tremendous "He" is, all in the overly florid flattery of a patently hypochrite courtier talking to a bloodthirsty Sultan. The second mode is like a market woman's astute chatter trying to compromise a severe inspector or policeman to avoid punishing some contravention: You are so great, you choose me as your favorite, you remember when in the Sinai you gave me a great present, you said so and so, therefore, you already have pardoned this insignificant sin thingie we may have committed. Thus, for hours. In Ashkenazi synagogues, therefore, at some point someone will draw from somewhere a bottle of schnapps or vodka and small cups will appear and a Kiddush will be made. Kiddush means sanctification, it is a broche for the fruit of the wine, or whatever. An interesting statistic is the exceptionally long lives of orthodox Jews of Bney Brak neighborhood and the very low incidence of Alzheimer among them. It is attributed to their lifelong daily Bible study circles, that maintains their brains always active. Nonsense, I say, it is the steady intake of small quantities of alcohol. Dont get me wrong: I am Jew and do what Jews do. It is the fourth day of the Chanuka festival, I am here singing with the daughters girls and lighting candles and olive oil lamps A nice tradition, however improbable is its reason (the miracle that one day portion of oil lasted eight days, in the times of the Maccabee rebellion). Well, anyway, have you all a Hag Sameach, a Happy Christmas! All reasons are valid to have a nice family get-together.