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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Reading Haftorah - fulfilling a dream

People often assume that, because I know how to read Torah, I also know how to read Haftorah.  After all, you read Haftorah from a book, not a scroll, and all the nikud (vowels and punctuation) and ta'amim(cantilations) are there, right in front of you.

But I never learned the meloday for Haftorah. 

I always wanted to learn, but never found the time....

As my youngest daughter's Bat Mitzvah approached, I had the idea that if she learned to read her entire parsha (Torah portion), then I would learn to read the Haftorah.  I really liked this idea, but even as she approached the end of her learning, I still had not found the time.

Thursday night, before her Bat Mitzvah Shabbat, I realized I either have to assign someone else to read the Haftorah or I have to learn it, FAST!

Providence shined on me and, that evening, my good friend, RJ, who is an amazing reader called to ask if I needed any help.

"I have a crazy question for you...." I began, "Can you come over tomorrow and teach me to read Haftorah?"

She laughed.  Who wouldn't?  Who learns a new trope in one day?
I know the signs and names of the ta'amim, so that makes the starting point a little easier, but learning all the notes in one day is tall order.  I also have a pretty good ear for music, so I felt confident (perhaps overly so) that I could do it.

RJ agreed to come by on Friday and teach me whatever she could.

Some ta'amim were easier for me to learn, others were quite difficult.  We did not have much time, but RJ was very encouraging.

At the end of our session, I had it down.  But.... could I remember it?

After my daughter read her parsha so beautifully... I was up.

I was not at all confident.

I asked RJ to stand next to me, so she could prompt me for the three ta'amim I had difficulty remembering (each appeared only once in my reading).

For someone who learned both the ta'amim and the Haftorah the day before, my reading was pretty good.

But, as one of my brutally honest friends said, "I've heard you do better."

Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.

With love and optimism,


Anonymous said...

How beautiful! I'm sure it was very special for everyone there to hear both daughter and mother. And it's just as well that you didn't put on your best show. You wouldn't want to outshine your lovely daughter on her special day. :)


Rahel Jaskow said...

I don't care what anyone says -- I think you were amazing.

Karen said...

I don't care what your so called friend said.....I am sure you did an outstanding job!.....prayers for you being sent!!

Batya said...

You couldn't have done it better before if you hadn't done it before. So I guess whoever thought so had no idea it was your debut.
You're amazing!

RivkA with a capital A said...

SS -- I thought about that. I agree.

Rahel -- your enthusiasm and support are invaluable!

rutimizrachi said...

I just get pleasure imagining your pleasure. I remember how you "lit up" when you spoke about your love of laining one day in Gan Sachar. Your joy was delicious. May you have many more moments that bring smiles to your friends, and to your own dear heart.

Bernie said...

What an inspiration you are, good for you learning something new.
Be well my friend.....:-) Hugs

RivkA with a capital A said...

Ruti -- amen!!

Bernie -- thanks!