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Whose Presence the Celebration Is

Thursday, 28 October 2010

It’s not good to mislead people. It annoys them and then you’ll lose their trust. Which is why, when the D.J. announced that the rabbi would be reciting a very short prayer after the meals, I felt compelled to correct him.

FrumeSarah: It’s not actually short.
D.J.: It really doesn’t take that long. Just a couple of minutes or so.
FrumeSarah: Really…it’s going to take us more than a couple of minutes. I mean, we do the long one and with the wedding inserts…
D.J.: I’m Jewish too. I know how long the Birkat takes.

[===> Ooo — HUGE pet peeve. “The Birkat”? And which one would that be? Birkat HaKohanim? Birkat HaLevana?]
Bubbe: You know, you probably want to trust what she’s saying. She’s also a rabbi.

And so we began…

Though the Wedding Birkat Hamazon starts off exactly like the standard one, it quickly shifts with the following:

Sweep away darkness and anger, then event he dumb will cry out in song. guide us in the paths of righteousness. Accept the blessing of the sons of Aaron.

With consent of all present, let us bless our God in whose presence the celebration is, and whose food we have eaten.

Blessed is our God in whose presence the celebration is and whose food we have eaten, and through whose goodness we live.

At which point, we abruptly go back in the bencher to page 50. And page turns that take us backwards rather than forwards is always concerning to the natives.

Now every family has activities they enjoy together. Some families have family football games after Thanksgiving Dinner. Other families go camping. Our family’s activity? Birkat HaMazon. We like it at a healthy clip and we like it loud. We have to make a concerted effort not to speed up and leave others in our wake.

As it was a weekday and not Purim, Chanukah, Rosh Chodesh, Yom HaAtzmaut, or any other special day (other than the wedding, of course), we skipped the special insertions. Which meant page announcements.

And more page announcements.

And more page announcements.

And even more page announcements.

Until finally —

We arrived back on Page 66 for the repetition of the Sheva Brachot.

And so, Mr. D.J., you might want to consider that when a family slots fifteen minutes for the Birkat HaMazon, it isn’t a misprint.

Unless you really thought that we were doing some other “Birkat” — in which case, it would have been “a very short prayer.”

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Jockbro permalink
    Friday, 29 October 2010 8:27 am

    It was extra long this time because the leader was allowing for those unfamiliar to follow along with the transliteration. Was our table the only one participating, by the way?

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Friday, 29 October 2010 11:35 am

      Even had he not slowed down, it was still long. At least, way longer than the D.J. had expected.

      I am guessing 2.5 tables 😉

  2. orieyenta permalink
    Friday, 29 October 2010 8:41 am

    Love this post! LO and I really enjoy the Birkat HaMazon and we’re definitely those who would fall into the LOUD camp. We were at a function a few weeks ago with about 150 people….and surprisingly to many…the two Chinese in the back seemed to be leading the whole thing. 🙂 Shabbat Shalom.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Friday, 29 October 2010 11:36 am

      That’s awesome!!!

  3. Former Reform Jew permalink
    Sunday, 31 October 2010 9:49 am

    I’m 100% with you on opposition to phrases like “the birkat”.

    You can add to that people who say that they were “bar(bat)mitzvahed” It’s not a verb. It’s not even something you actively do.

    A Male Jew becomes a Bar Mitzvah upon starting year 13, day 1 of his life. Traditionally, A Female Jew becomes a Bat Mitzvah upon starting year 12, day 1 of her life – although I’m aware that the Reform movement uses 13 years as the age for both genders.

    In any case, it’s not a verb.

    Also, sheva brachot literally means seven blessings. For one week after the groom and bride are married, they make festive meals with a minyan in attendance, and recite these seven blessings after “the birkat” (ha!) :o)

    If you are invited to attend one of these festive meals, you are NOT going to a “sheva bracha” ! You’re going to sheva brachot. If you have a desperate need to use a singular noun, you can say that you’re going to a seudat sheva brachot.

    I am fully confident that Frume Sarah already knew all of the above, and I hope she (and other readers in the know) are reading this and commiserating.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Sunday, 31 October 2010 10:09 pm

      Oh yes. We are SO on the same page, FRJ.

      I am wondering if there is some perceived grammatical discomfort in attending a singular event that has a name in the plural.

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