Gelila is a wierd event, according to some sources it is held to a very lofty position and one who gets it is honored. Well I have noticed that over the years Gelila has been cast down as the reject position, it has become the position of single akward men, the smelly guys, young frummy rebel types, the guy with the only non black velvet yarmulke in shull, and any other folks “you know who you are” that people always feel they “have” to invite them over or they will go postal.
Why has this lofty position of Gelila been cast down so low where the Gabbi feels they must give it to the shull or community rejects. Let us examine this annomoly. Gelila is like trying to teach a kid to walk, we all know he can do it, but he never does it right, always falling all over the place. So to with Gelila, I feel that back in the day the Rabanan declared that all torah gartels be as complicated as possible. Rarely do shulls have a plain velcrow clasp, the velcrow clasp is actually common in Chabbad houses so the person doing Gelila doesn’t look too dumb. In other shulls round the world they have resorted to the tripple button clasp, the often impossible to get it right on the first try clasp is used to mock shull rejects everywhere. On the sidelines of the bima disgrunteled Baal Habatim mumble under their breaths as this man clad in his borwn corduroy sport coat with the elbow patches struggles against the evil Torah gartel with 3 button clasp. We have all seen the event that the Gabbo knowing this inevitibility always seeks to give the Gelila guy a play by play and roots him on kind of like the coach in Rocky movies.
Another problematic Torah gartel clasp is the ever famous bra-clasp, this hook mechanism also makes shull rejects look even more stupid and even has the shadchunim in the balconies taking notes on this persons IQ. This clasp like the 3 button clasp is also quite popular especially in Upper West Side Modern orthodox establishments, since many are singles may have ammassed experinced with bra-straps in their years roaming the singles scene there.
The other issue with Gelila’s mockery of all who are appointed this grueling task is putting the actual cover on the Torah. The holes are usually the biggest issue. All onlookers are thinking “jeez just line up the holes, your breaking intop my kiddush club time”, but up there with all that pressure, the Gabbi coaching you, and your tired arms from actually lifting the whole cover up to try and get it on the Torah- these pressures lead to further embarrassment espceially in shulls with blaconies. Imagine all these women and men staring at the lone figure who had trouble with the clasp, trouble with the cover and now its on to the clanging, rustling of the silver crowns with akward holes with which to line up the Torah poles in. The silver also brings more issues to the table and can cause nervous breakdown.
The Yad, always gets put on different poles and the guest Gelila guy may not know which one, or which way the crown goes etc..Sometimes one of the digruntled Baal Habatim takes it into the their own hands and just does the silver himself. If its even a less formal shull someone may even yell encouragement or abuse from the audiance.
Remember next time your fellow Jew gets up to do Gelila, to think of the gruelling task ahead of them and to have patience- oh and if any Gabbiam are reading this. How bout getting some velcrow gartels eh?