- When the Carlebach Mi Chamochah is sung at Hadar in the morning, the standard way it is broken up into lines is:
Tehilot le-Eil Elyon, baruch hu umvorach
Mosheh uvnei Yisraeil
Lecha anu shirah
Besimchah rabah ve-ameru chulam
Mi chamochah ba-eilim Adonai
Mi kamochah ne'dar bakodesh
Nora tehilot oseh fele
Shira chadashah shibechu ge'ulim
Leshimcha al sefat hayam
Yachad kulam hodu ve-himlichu ve-ameru
Adonai yimloch le'olam va'ed
Yai dai dai dai dai dai dai...
And the hurry-up-and-wait nature of the last three lines has always mystified me. Why jam lots of syllables into the antepenultimate line, only to have extra beats left over for yai dai dai? Why not just
Yachad kulam hodu
Adonai yimloch le'olam va'ed
- Melodies go through cycles of popularity. This is in part influenced by ordinary use -- if a particular melody is used successfully, it might be emulated by other shelichei tzibbur and slowly gain popularity; on the other hand, it might also become overused and then (silently) deprecated. A melody can also be placed on the fast track through mass exposure if it is taught in a large-group setting such as the Shavuot Retreat or the melody classes preceding the High Holidays. When a melody becomes popular, it's often possible to trace a mechanism by which it spreads. But I was away from New York and Hadar for a year (2007-08), so whatever happened during that year is outside my firsthand experience. So can someone explain what the deal is with "Im Eshkacheich Yerushalayim"? Don't get me wrong, I like it and I use it. But I generally use it only in instances that call for a specific mood, e.g. the Three Weeks, and that's the type of situation where I had previously encountered it in davening (e.g. selichot). And then I come back to Hadar in summer 2008, and Im Eshkacheich Yerushalayim is everywhere! It's just become a stock "slow" niggun, seemingly stripped of its specific associations. So I'm just curious how and when this happened.
And another question that isn't specific to Hadar:
- I noticed a few weeks ago that Amos 9:11 says "sukkat David hanofelet". And "hanofelet" has an etnachta, so if there were a special pausal form of this word, it would already be there. So why do some benchers say (in birkat hamazon) "hanofalet"? Is it just a hypercorrection? The actual Tanakh text is presumably authoritative.
A quick survey of some of the benchers in my apartment shows that the bencher population is distributed fairly randomly:
Nofelet: B'Kol Echad, B'Osher Ashir, L'chu N'ran'nah, Livnot, Mizmor Shir, UJA, Yedid Nefesh, Zimrat Yah
Nofalet: Ain Sof, Anim Zemirot, Artscroll, Eit Hazamir Higiyah [sic], Kolot, Limmud, Nevarech, Zemirot Yomeiru
And that's just benchers; I didn't even get started with siddurim.
This last item isn't really a question:
- At havdalah on the Shavuot Retreat, everyone got an individual teabag for besamim. At that point, everyone in my section simultaneously got the idea that this havdalah felt like it had been sponsored by Fox News. Of course, this probably wasn't Hadar's fault, because Hadar plans things well in advance, so this had likely been in the works before it had been usurped by the astroturfers. But it plays into a larger trend, since it is reminiscent of the fiasco at the 2005 Shavuot Retreat, when Hadar gave out free Nalgene-style bottles. A great souvenir, with just one problem: the bottles (and the folders for that retreat) were orange, so we couldn't be caught in public with them for many months afterward. Again, not Hadar's fault: the color scheme was inspired by The Gates, and the bottles and folders had been ordered well before the anti-disengagement movement took root. The point is this: time and again, the Hadar Shavuot team has shown an uncanny ability to predict the next inane right-wing meme (or at least the superficial symbols associated with it). They should start thinking of ways to capitalize on this. Does Intrade have a category for what color or prop will be waved in the protests against Obama's second-term agenda in spring 2013?