I just wrote a whole bunch of posts about my thoughts during the succos holiday, I know its a bit late- but I have some interesting insights and will be posting them throughout the week. It will be busy around these parts, as I am in this insane writing mode.
Last year was the first year I made it around the bima seven times on Hoshanna Rabba, I was amazed at my ability to withstand the trials and tribulations of sweaty men wielding spears made of palm trees as we fought with each other for the mitzvah of hoshanos. I was also amazed at the fact that for the first time I didn’t have to poke anyones eye out with my lulav to get through. Of course by the time the third round was made, there were multiple anti-conformist circles that had no order what so ever. This always happens with the circle of Jews, no matter if its hoshanos or a wedding even. There always seems to be that one guy that wants to cut everyone off and all the sudden a new circle is formed, then the old circle ends at some point and an entirely new one is needed to continue the chain.
I then discovered this year why I had made it around the bima seven times, when every other attempt in my lifetime had failed. It was not because I am the hoshanos pimp, well actually the hoshanos pimps are all underage enterprising yeshiva bochurs who pick them in someones backyard and charge you a whole bunch of dough for some leaves- which in recent times have been bioengineered to withstand the clopping to the point that you need to grab off fistfuls of leaves in order to feel you accomplished anything.
Well my pimping skills were crushed when I learned that the reason I had made it so far, without much effort, was because those trusty Lubavitchers, skip and whole bunch of stuff that the rest of the shulls say. I think it has something to do with the guys they grab off the street to shake the lulav in their sukkah mobiles and the need to shuffle them out of shull quicker so they come back, that seems to be the only reason I could think of.
So this year I think I even made it around more then seven times since I got lost in the siddur. In fact I never have been able to follow along with hoshanos in general. My father always has a shit fit when no one announces the pages for what paragraph they are saying, and this year I just gave up and tried to repeat what the lead dude was saying.
I have also always wondered what a non-Jew would think if they happened to walk in during a round of hoshanos. Would they think it was some rendition of palm Sunday? Would they mutter that the shrooms they just had were real good? Or would they simply shrug us off as a bunch of loonies? Come to think of it, hoshanos aren’t half as weird looking as Kiddush levana.
Another issue I have with hoshanos and it was mentioned before, is the fact that in recent years I have not been able to get any leaves off of the aravos when I clop them. Am I just too weak in the world of vitamin water and steroids? Or is it something more, have they been messing around with hoshanos, so they can reuse the bundles that were clopped, by selling them to later minyanim at a reduced cost, by saying they are certified pre-owned aravos. Or have they been engineered to make us look stupider then we already do?