desh ([personal profile] desh) wrote2005-04-20 02:02 pm
Entry tags:

legal fiction

I think this is one of the charming things about my religion. Others may disagree.

All first-born sons, in addition to being sold off, have to fast every year on a certain day right before Passover; in this case, tomorrow. Like most minor fast days, you can't eat or drink anything from sunrise to sunset.

Now, totally separate from that, there's a concept of a siyyum. "Siyyum" comes from the root meaning "to finish". A siyyum is a celebration had when someone completes the study of a portion of Jewish law, usually one of the six books of Mishna or one of the several dozen tractates of Talmud. The person or people who have finished studying invite a gathering of people, teach everyone a summary of what they've learned, and actually complete the studying by learning the last few sentences right then. Special prayers are said, and then everyone celebrates with a small feast.

Now, a siyyum is such a joyous and important thing that the commandment to eat at it overrides the commandment to fast (except when the fast applies to all Jews, so not Yom Kippur, for example), and once you've broken a fast there's no point in keeping the rest of it. And purely coincidentally, there are siyyums being held all over the place, early tomorrow morning. Apparently, lots of people, including at least one at nearly every synagogue, have learned a body of Jewish law and just happen to be finishing then. How convenient! Guess I won't have to fast this year. And I think there might have been another coincidentally-timed siyyum last year too, so I didn't have to fast then either! Or the year before that...

[identity profile] 2005-04-20 06:17 pm (UTC)(link)
I adore how utterly pragmatic the Jewish religion is. And how tongue-in-cheek so much of it turns out. :)

[identity profile] 2005-04-20 07:04 pm (UTC)(link)
You don't think this one makes sense? I suppose I think a lot of the rules are about paying attention, and I suspect that this sort of legal accomodation encourages people to look at the laws, rather than writing off a fast day as too inconvenient. I think that's very pragmatic. I also love the legal manuveuring involved.

[identity profile] 2005-04-20 11:23 pm (UTC)(link)
By "pragmatic" you mean "hypocritical"? It's crazy loopholes like these that simultaneously make Jews really good lawyers and drives me crazy with the insanity of it all.

--Jeff Cohen, who was sold by the priesthood at an early age

[identity profile] 2005-04-21 06:30 am (UTC)(link)
actually unlikely -- since you are of the priesthood yourself, and therefore don't need to be redeemed/purchased, if i recall correctly.

i mean, yeah, it's whack, but it's fun too.

[identity profile] 2005-04-20 09:39 pm (UTC)(link)
I can't tell if you're being facetious or not. I guess not. You've gotta hear my father's stories about being in Rabbi Bravender's class.
Anyhoo, your little blurb on Pidyon HaBen is hilarious. Do you have one about duchening, too?

[identity profile] 2005-04-22 10:50 am (UTC)(link)
Fine, I love the games.

Fine, I agree with the importance of awareness.

Sometimes I feel like I'm so wrong that I'm afraid to even throw up the idea to see where the bullet holes will be in it when it flutters to the someone might miss and shoot me instead. [blatant disclaimer]

We would feast on a day that so many have died..when we are supposed to recognize them? On a day when we should notice what happens when one is greedy or has a hardened heart, we celebrate in order to avoid... blah. Do you see a siyum anywhere in the omer? O, hmm....lag b'omer? Somehow that strikes me as different, but my memory isn't allowing me to recall what the origins of that day are. Can someone jog me, or should I just google or ask my roommate when she wakes up?