Sunday, July 15, 2007

Reading Haftorah

I woke up yesterday morning and all of a sudden had an awkward feeling. I was wondering if I was supposed to chant Haftorah that morning. For the past four years I have been reading the Haftorah the Shabbat before Tisha B'Av. This Haftorah starts with regular trope for the first sentence, than switches into the melody used for Tisha B'av. About two-thirds of the way through it switches back to the regular Haftorah melody for about four sentences and then back to the Aicha melody afterwards. The last three sentences are done with the regular trope.

I actually enjoy this Haftorah. I like the switch back and forth in the trope, I like the comments and I like the tone it sets for the upcoming fast. While I have done this a number of times in the past, I was not ready last week and was very relieved to look at my calendar and find out that it was the following week that I was slated to do it. Hopefully I will take advantage of the week and look it over and do myself proud.

Before I first chanted it, I remember hearing someone else do it and I was extremely impressed and found it haunting and chilling, in a positive sense. While I do not have a great voice, I have always tried to do it in a similar manner and think, at least in part, I have succeeded. If there are just one or two congregants I can leave with that same feeling I had when I heard it chanted, my job is more than done.

My mother never heard me chant this Haftorah but I know she would have been proud. My father heard me chant it once and enjoyed and I was pleased to have him hear it. And, there was a little bit of an inside joke as growing up, whenever I got the best of my father, he would jokingly respond with the Hebrew phrase, "B'Anim G'Dalti". This is the beginning of a quote that translates to, "Children I have reared and they have forsaken me". That line comes from this Haftorah. Every time I practice, every time I do it for real, that line always brings a smile to my face and probably even more since he passed away.

I am looking forward to chanting this Haftorah.

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