Thursday, May 20, 2010

So, how was your Shavuot ?


I had a wonderful lazy relaxed Shavuot ! 
A Shearim reader from New Jersey and I went to the Karlin - Stolin Synagogue in Mea Shearim. Shavuot seems to be one of the few occasions when the Karliner Rebbe comes over to his Jerusalem Beit Midrash from his residence in Givat Ze'ev (outside Jerusalem).

On Erev Shavuot, most Karliner Chassidim were to be found outside the Synagogue. Already standing on the metal benches and awaiting the Rebbe. Even some women were standing at the Ezrat Nashim (women's side) which is very unusual when you look at Erev Shabbat. Hardy any women show up on Friday nights for Kabbalat Shabbat. However, for holidays (Chagim) they do.

First I placed myself inside the Synagogue, the Karliner Rebbe walked from the Aron HaKodesh (Torah Shrine) towards the exit (metal benches outside) and all Chassidim sitting inside the Synagogue stood up. Then the Maariv (evening service) began.

As usual, prayers were shouted out loud and whoever is not used to the wild Karliner prayer may be in a state of shock. The Chazan screams out the first words / first sentence of a prayer and the rest is being shouted out loud by all the other Chassidim. A kind of a mess but very emotional.

After the service, the New Jersey guy and were invited to the house of a Karliner Chassid and his family. The food being served was the best Shavuot food I have ever eaten ! At least ten dishes were served: Pancakes, red pepper stuffed with rice, salmon, salads, lasagne, potatoe slices with something dairy on them. Later on onion soup and white / brown chocolate cake.

Our plan was going back to the Tish of the Karliner Rebbe at about 11pm. However, we decided to go to other places in Mea Shearim first but, in the end, missed all Tishes. Obviously they had started much earlier than we thought. We even missed the Karliner Tish.
Nevertheless, it was nice walking through Mea Shearim and seeing hundreds of Chassidim walking with their books under their arms into different Batei Midrash (study places) where they were doing their "Tikkun Leil Shavuot - Soul rectification on Shavuot by Torah study). 

After this kind of adventurous walk and all the food, I made my way into bed.

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