Jewish Fun - High Holidays

The Torah

Funny Story about the High Holidays

My family was very prominent in Temple when I was a young boy. My father was part of the Men’s club, my mother’s was part of the Woman’s club, I was in Hebrew School and participated in anything the temple did along with my family. We helped build the Sukkah and we had Passover meals there. We helped run the Purim Carnival, you get the idea.

At high holidays, we had seats in the third row so we were always very close to the bima where the Rabbi and Cantor were leading the service. One time, my father and I went to Rosh Hashanah service in the morning as we usually did. We were sitting there reading along with everyone else when the gentlemen in front of me tapped me on the shoulder to get my attention. When I looked up, he directed my attention to the bima where our Rabbi was trying to tell me that my father didn’t have a yarmulke on. I looked up and sure enough, he had forgotten to put one on. I laughed a bit at that but then directed my father to put one on. So he unzips his tallis bag and pulls one out. Then another, and another. By this point, I’m straining to keep from bursting out laughing. He continued to pull out one after another, from various Bar Mitzvahs, until he had a virtual Crayola hued mass of Yarmulke’s in his hands – maybe fifteen or twenty in all.

The Rabbi was laughing as were the few people around us who had witnessed this. It was like watching a magician pull out the multi-colored scarves out of his mouth. The rabbi mouthed to us through his laughter to put one on and my father finally did so.

Scaring the Newly Minted Jewish Man

This is a fast story. The Yom Kippur after my Bar-Mitzvah, I was asked to carry the Torah around the temple during services. This is, of course, a very high honor so I quickly agreed. I did not know at the time that I would need to do a few other things as well. If you don’t know, the Torah scrolls, with the cover and other ceremonial items on it, is fairly heavy. This wouldn’t have been a problem for me, if I had known that ahead of time. Of course, I found that out when I went to lift it. Then you get to sit with it for a short while, which is no problem. Of course, carrying it around the temple is a whole other story. People essentially have to touch the Torah as it passes which is no big deal but as this was Yom Kippur, the rules are a bit scarier. Just before stepping down off the bima, with my arms wrapped around the Torah, the Rabbi made this very ominous request.

“Just don’t drop it.”

“Why”, I asked.

“Well, as it is Yom Kippur,” he started “if you drop the Torah, instead of fasting for one day, you will instead have to fast for forty days.”

To this day I still don’t know if he was joking or not.

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