Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Immersed in Trope

My name is Batia bat Avraham v’ Sara. In English this means Daughter of God, Daughter of Abraham and Sara. This is the name by which I will be called up to read the Torah for the first time on July 9. I look forward to this day with a sense of accomplishment, a sense of reaching an important milestone in my religious life.

I had been intending to do this for a long, long time. But I had never determined to do serious study. I had never picked a day. When Judith Rosen approached me about a joint “bat mitzvah” sometime this year, I agreed willingly. But until there was actually a date, I didn’t start to work terribly hard.

I could always sort of read Hebrew, incredibly slowly. I knew nothing about the trope marks that define the tunes to which the text is sung. Learning the trope for the Torah actually turned out to be not too hard for me because it was just a matter of looking at the music and learning it. And each of us only has 8 verses. There is the challenge of reading from the actual Torah, which has no vowels or trope marks. So you pretty much have to know your portion by the time you read it.

I decided to take on chanting the Haftarah as well. This has turned out to be a much bigger project because the Hebrew and the trope for this portion are much more difficult. At least with the Haftarah, the vowels and trope markings are visible.

David has been really good about helping me learn the Hebrew. Occasionally I sense that he wonders why I make the same mistakes over and over. But I have overheard him proudly telling people how hard I am working. That always makes me feel good.

We have now practiced with the actual Torah 3 times. I’m OK on the Torah reading, but the Haftarah is a little shaky. I think I will know it by July 9.

I really like the woman rabbi, Susan Warshaw, who will be leading the service on July 9. She told us to say a little prayer of thanksgiving when we got up to read for the fact that women are now able to do this, something that for many years was only done by men.

The preparation has given me a much greater appreciation for what 13-year-olds go through as they prepare for their b’nai mitzvot.

The last couple of mornings I have awakened with the trope in my mind, as though I am chanting in my sleep. I feel like I am really living the Torah in more ways that one right now.

I look forward to July 9 because it is a good reason for my children to come home. I hope they will be as proud of me as I was of them!


Blogger Dsquared said...

They will be!

12:59 AM  

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