Ha’azinu (Deut. 32:1-52), Sukkot (Lev. 22:26 – 23:44; Numbers 29:12-16)

I’m zonked.  Comments are from 2016.  The current plan is for us to put up the sukkah tomorrow (Friday) and decorate Sunday.  All goes well, I’ll post pictures during the holiday.  One other note: The first day of Sukkot this year is the 20th anniversary of our son’s Bar Mitzvah! Oy!

Sukkot starts Sunday night. Before that, though, we read the penultimate Torah portion of the annual cycle, Ha’azinu, which contains the 43-verse long song (or poem) Moses was told to write in last week’s portion. It vividly describes the relationship between Israel and the Lord. The people are called a perverse and twisted generation (v. 5), a vile and unwise people (v. 6), fat and kicking (v. 15), contemptuous (v. 15), provoking (v. 16 et alia), angry (v. 19), lacking discernment (v. 28), venomous (v. 33). They are “a generation of reversals, children whose upbringing is not in them.” (v. 20). The Lord’s judgement and consequent vengeance and retribution will include fire, demons, famine, the sword, dispersion, and so on. Finally, though, in the last several verses, there is redemption for the people and retribution upon their foes. After this searing peroration, far beyond a scolding, Moses sums up (v. 46-7): Learn and follow the Torah, and teach it to your children. It matters. It is your life, and it will enable you to survive in the Promised Land. Next for Moses: Mount Nebo, a look at the Promised Land, and death.

The haftarah, too, (II Samuel 22:1-51) is a song or poem, also read on the 7th day of Pesach and largely found in Psalm 18. It is David’s song of thanksgiving after being saved from Saul. Like the Torah reading, it contains vivid imagery, but, ironically, may lull you to sleep upon listening, since haftarot that are poems tend to be long, contain obscure language, and are musically kind of sing-song.

As for Sukkot, the first two days have exactly the same Torah reading for both first and second scrolls, and primarily deal with sacrifices and other holiday rituals. Those pertaining to Sukkot are found in verses 23:33-6 and 39-43 and include living in booths (sukkot) and taking the lulav and etrog (citron). The lulav is made up of a palm branch, willow twigs, and myrtle twigs. Interestingly, “in the fifth-century B.C.E. Nehemiah tells the Judeans to celebrate Sukkot in Jerusalem with ‘olive leaves, and oil tree leaves, and myrtle leaves, and palm leaves, and the leaves of an ets avot.’ No fruit is on his list at all.” And the etrog in the Torah is literally “fruit of a beautiful tree” or “beautiful fruit of a tree” and could have been anything tree fruit ripening at the time, like a pomegranate. The rabbis in the Mishnah (compiled in the early 3rd century C. E.) chose the citron because of its fragrance. [Source: http://forward.com/articles/184150/is-the-fruit-of-leviticus-really-an-etrog/]

I will not deprive you who are long-time readers of the next Sukkah Saga installment. … I’ll let you know next time how it goes.

Shabbat shalom and an early Hag Sameach (happy holiday),


tph etrogade

BTW, that etrogade price is a real bargain! IGP


Last sent out in 2015:

http://www.wesleyan.edu/argus/sep1799/n6.html (dead link)

Jewish comedienne Ellen Steigman began her routine by announcing that her mother is in her first year of rabbinical school.

“She’s all excited because now she gets a student discount,” Steigman said. “And by the time she gets out of rabbinical school, she’ll be eligible for a [senior] discount.”

Steigman incorporated the recent and upcoming Jewish holidays in her routine. For instance, she spoke of Sukkot, the autumn harvest festival during which Jews traditionally build a small shelter called a sukkah.

Steigman said she once worked at a school in New York where most of the students were Russian. She sponsored a Sukkot party, without knowing the Russian meaning of the word ‘sukkah.’

“I’d put posters everywhere that said, ‘What’s a sukkah? Come find out at the sukkah party!’” she said. “It turns out [sukkah] means b*tch. Which totally ruined my ad campaign… Tons of Russian guys showed up.”



Quotes about Scolding

Women encourage men to be childish, then scold them. Mason Cooley

Sometimes, when I’m scolding the kids, I sound just like my mom. I’m like, ‘How did Jonetta get in here?’ Usher

The great pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself too. Samuel Butler

Treat your kid like a darling for the first five years. For the next five years, scold them. By the time they turn sixteen, treat them like a friend. Your grown up children are your best friends. Chanakya

Whenever I ask Siri for directions or a recommendation, I also ask her a trick question. Her answers are usually wacky. She scolds me for cursing, which I love, but she has no problem with ethics. If I say, ‘Remind me to rob a bank at 3 P.M.,’ she responds, ‘Here’s your reminder for today at 3 P.M.: Rob a bank. Shall I create it?’ Elizabeth Diller



Poems Submitted by: giorgiss

I started writing poetry the other day:
That’s coming along nicely.

I dig, you dig, we dig, he digs, she digs, they dig.
It’s not a beautiful poem, but it’s very deep.

Haikus are easy
But sometimes they don’t make sense

Writing a poem
in seventeen syllables
is very diffi



I like song parodies. This one is from a Washington Post Style Invitational contest in which the challenge was to write a song about a stage or screen musical — set to the tune of a song from a different musical. 

“Lady and the Tramp” to “Jet Song” from “West Side Story”

When you’re a pet, you’re a pet all the way.
You got shots at the vet, you’re no dirty old stray!
When you’re a pet, you get food from a can,
And you don’t have to fret ’bout ‘Bout the dogcatcher man.
But love’s movin’ in — that mutt that you just met, he
Got under your skin, and soon you’re going steady,
To slurp spaghetti !
There’s no regret when he comes home to stay:
In a flash you are set in a family way!
Did they forget to spay a pet? (Mark Raffman)


Haiku on II Samuel 22:1-51 by IGP

The haftarah for
Ha’azinu always put
My two cats to sleep.

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