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28 November 2014 @ 11:22 pm
Ritual is important!  
In which I'm kind of a fuddy-duddy.

softlykarou and I went to services tonight after having not been for a while. We weren't sure anyone would be there, and indeed, the rabbi and the cantrix (chazanit, if you prefer) were both gone, so the music director led the service. And perhaps because of that, it was totally different than I was used to. It was described as a Boomer service, and a lot of the familiar prayers were left out in favor of songs like Hallelujah or Turn, Turn, Turn or If I Had a Hammer or In My Life. I was...not a fan.

Urgh. It's difficult to criticize this kind of thing without it being read as "[X] suqs 'cause u suq," but that's not what I mean. I'm pretty sure I was the odd one out, since everyone else looked like they were having a great time, but there's a comforting rhythm to tradition that I found completely absent tonight. Part of it might just be that I didn't grow up listening to the radio and so I barely knew any of the songs, but I think there's value in tradition. In knowing you're doing something the same as generations past. As a friend put it, tradition shouldn't be the reason to do something, but it can be a reason, and it's one I put some weight on. I'd much rather be singing the Amidah than You've Got A Friend.

I'm aware that a lot of honored traditions are not actually that old, but as with a lot of human activities, what "really happened" in the past doesn't actually matter. It doesn't really matter that one of the Children of Israel probably wouldn't recognize anything if they were put in a modern synagogue, or that all the evidence shows that the Exodus never happened and the Children of Israel split off from indigenous Canaanites. What matters is how people relate to what's happening now, and the lessons they carry forward from their interpretation of the past. Mythically true does not have to be literally true.

(There's actually a rabbinic story about that, where G-d shows Rabbi Akiva teaching his students to Moses and Moses has no idea what's going on. And then G-d yells at him for asking about it.)

I suppose I am one of those core grognards that make it impossible to change anything to match the times. Or I'm a vanguard against the homogenizing tide of modernity. Choose as appropriate.
 
 
Current Mood: disappointeddisappointed
Current Music: Rachel and Miles Xplain the X-men podcast