Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Yemenite for "The Night"

In all honesty, it was for a whole night, just a short while.

I'm one of those Purim "killjoys" who hates and condemns the festive noise during the reading of Megillat (Scroll of) Esther.  I find it physically painful and it totally prevents me from following the reading.  And we're supposed to read/follow it.

I usually go to private home readings, but this year I couldn't find one.  Our community's rabbi had made a proclamation that we should all go to "main" readings in the synagogues, at least on the first night, for the sake of unity.  Some of the homes I've been going to announced that they would honor the rabbi's request.  I was stuck and didn't feel like making phone calls.

For the past few years I'd heard that the Yemenite minyan, which is actually in our shul's building, reads the Megilat Esther very quietly.  It's not acceptable to make noise.  I was a bit nervous about going, not G-d forbid for any social/cultural reason, because I wasn't sure I'd be able to follow the traditional Yemenite accent.  I've heard the Megilla sufficient times, 30x4 since we're in Shiloh and more than twenty beforehand, so that the different chanting tune shouldn't be a problem. 

The Yemenite minyan is pretty small, and many Yemenite families take their children to the other more "festive" readings.  They made room for all of us (I wasn't the only Ashkenaz fleeing the banging and cap guns)  and even expanded the women's section.  I wasn't the only Ashkenazic woman who became Yemenite for the night.

I must admit that I didn't follow the reading at all, certainly less than 50%.  It certainly would improve if I adopted going to their reading every year.  And we could hear the noise, a bit muffled, from the reading in our shul.  I was very happy not to have been in my regular seat.  I wouldn't have survived.

It's nice to have choice.

Chag Purim Sameach!


Hadassa said...

My husband goes to the Yemenite minyan every week, and also to the Megilla reading. He loves the lack of noise and interruptions. I went to the neighborhood shteibel, which is run by a Yemenite who keeps the noise to a bare minimum, which is great. A few foot stompings is a sufficient reminder that we are obligated to stamp out Amalek.
Purim sameah!

Batya said...

It may have been the fasting that prevented me from following... I just thought of it.

Esser Agaroth said...

This is one of the reasons why I go to a Yemenite minyan, which you have close to your house, no?

I also prefer to hear a more accurate pronunciation of the words.

We were finished within a half an hour, not an hour and a half. ;-)

Esser Agaroth said...

I realize that's exactly the minyan where you went. :-)

Batya said...

ea, the reader slurred his words, so I couldn't hear them clearly. If he had spoken them clearly I could have followed better. Yes, it's in "our backyard," the same building as the Ashkenaz shul.