Monday, September 25, 2006
Tzom Gedalia:Learning and Shuk-ing
Today was a very interesting, (should I say) enjoyable, and meaningful fast day, which commemorates sinat chinam, senseless hatred between Jews. (The actual event commemorates was the murder of Gedalia Ben Achikam, the Jewish governor of Judea by other Jews).
This morning, after tefillot we had our Tanach class where we are examining the book of Devarim. Afterwards, since there was no lunch, I went straight to my Pirke Avot class where we had some interesting and lively discussion as usual, and a cute treat as Rabbi Frank's dog Zoe joined our class for the day. This was followed by a nice mincha service, during which I (tried to) do Hagbah, and which included as well the beautiful tradition of Birkat Kohanim (aka Duchening) which is practiced daily in Israel, and at Mincha as well on Fast Days. Afterwards we had an abbreviated midrash class, where we studied some interesting Midrashim about Yom Kippur.
The reason the class was cut short, however, was so we could participate in the rite of Kapparot, which involves swinging a (live) chicken over your head and 'transferring' your sins to it. Although some people we grossed out by it, I found it interesting and neat. After that We were then given some free time to explore Machane Yehuda, the Jewish shuk in the middle of downtown Jerusalem, where I got some amazing rugelach (still not as good as Ima's) and a kilogram of fresh grapes for 3 Shekel (about 75 cents!). I found it so educational and fascinating to explore these different customs and attractions located just 15 minutes from our front door!