Prep: We worked like dogs. We worked all day to turn our campus into some sort of combination of a Bedouin Tent, MacDonald's Farm, and a Fancy Outdoor Restaurant. Room for 250+ people to sit (and at one point there were something like 400 people there). We built two covered-tent areas, brought in hay, hoisted a bicycle between two trees so that it hung suspended, took some flowers from a wedding that was held here yesterday and spray painted some of them gold, built a cage and brought in a duck, a goat, and a donkey....and a million and one other crazy things I can't mention for lack of space right now. It was nuts. In any case, I was enlisted to be a "meltzarit" - a waitress - at the "reception" that took place when the guests and bogrim (alumni) first arrived. I and a few others work black and white, smiled a lot, and took around platter after platter of cheese, banana shakes, and wine that we had prepared earlier in the day, pampering our visitors with hors d'oeuvres which both they and I took part of heartily.
Practice: We had a MASSIVE "Kabbalat haChag" on the Mitzpe (lookout) with all of the guests, everyone bright and shiny in pure, festive white. It was beautiful on many, many levels.
Play: We had an incredible dinner (though, I will admit, I had eaten a lot of cheese...wasn't so hungry by the time all the delicious food came around) which I helped to serve, running around with plates of labane, hummus, two types of pasta (yuuumm!), lasagna, and bread.
Precious: The lectures after dinner were great. But the highlight of the night, for those in my machzor (loosely: semester) was a play that a bunch of the guys put on imitating some of the teachers. They really loved it. Erez Eshel said he watched it twice.
Pontificate: At 2:30am everyone broke into group "chavrutot", or discussion groups that some of us had prepared. My group was - yes - on one of Levinas' 9 Talmudic Readings. I lead it with my friend Tea, a wonderful, thoughtful secular from Haifa. One I first learned in Migdal Oz, and have never forgotten. It's about the meaning of the phrase "Na'ase V'Nishma" ("we will do and we will listen") and its flipped logic. There is a story that Levinas brings from the Talmud about God holding Mt. Sinai over the Children of Israel and essentially leaving them with the choice of "Torah or Death". The group that sat with us was very serious, very studious, and very interested in the subject matter. The discussion was flowed, breathed, lived, and we talked until 4am (!) when I took my leave (before everyone else!) to go listen to the Book of Ruth be read in the Yishuv's synagogue. I sang along.
Pass out: Then I went to bed. Ahhhhhh. The next day was...chill. No one was up before 1pm. Including me.
Chag Sheni (or, My Personal Shavuot):
Strange: When Havdalah came around
Surprise Tiyyul: We're going on a tiyyul - the whole Midrasha - next week. Sunday, Monday, Tuesday. No one knows where we're going, but we're all gung-ho. Should be fun. They told us last Thursday. They told us to bring our passports. I think that was a joke. It must have been a joke.
Slip Down to Qelt: Went down to the mayaan this morning. The most "chagigi" thing I could think of doing. And it was lovely. I read Sefer Ezra there with a friend. Glory.
Shiur Ezra: Micah Goodman gave a talk on Sefer Ezra. That's all I need write here.
"Shimru Al HaEsh!": I made myself a lunch of what food there was. I managed to save a yortzeit candle that had been lit before the holiday so I could use it's flame to light a fire to cook with, and I made a stir-fry dish of red pepper, tomato, and whole lemon seasoned with chili pepper, turmeric, salt. Spicy. Strong. Tasty...?
Shna"tz: An abbreviation for "Sheina B'Tozhorayim" or "afternoon nap". Something I did today.
So I leave you with this, a lovely ballad called Jaykub. The band is called Sparklehorse (here they perform with another band called Danger Mouse. I like the animal themes ///|||\\\\), and I like them for a couple reasons, not the least of which is that their first album is called Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot. One word.