So I went to Washington Heights for Megilla reading this year figuring that when I get bored I could at least have something to look at. For all of those that somehow stay interested after the first banging of Haman you can stop reading here, for everyone else who probably has the same condition that I have welcome to my world of MADD (Megilla Attention Deficit Disorder)
Anyone in the shul could have picked me out, first of all because I was one of the few unfortunate ones who had to sit in the makeshift section of loose seating placed on the floor. I chose these seats because of the leg room, unfortunately their sunken level restricted full views into the women’s section which is really the only reason someone would come to Mt Sinai shul in Washington Heights- for all of you who do not know- the Heights as it is locally known is the fastest growing singles community in the world and is predominantly made up of Modern Orthodox Machmir girls and boys- some of the ladies are super cuties as well- I do recommend a shabbos spent there. For all of the uninitiated Mt. Sinai is home to the most conducive mechitza for looking at women without actually appearing to do so- in the world. The men and women sit across from each other and can look right in, I always forget my glasses and have to suffer with squinting, which I am sure the women can see, but since I cannot see them watching me I am content with this type of Asian influenced staring.
So I am sitting in front with my buddy big Jerry looking around for random people, checking out the ladies and realizing that the artscroll siddur in my hand just didn’t have the megilla in it. Silence engulfed the room, punctuated by a few solo coughing concertos and we were off. Everyone looked into their fraying paper megillas with the cooler people balancing the stone chumash on their laps and the even cooler more chushav people looking at megilla scrolls.
Next time megilla rolls around, take a look at the room and notice how entranced everyone is at the start. Everyone looks intently into their megillas and follows along. I never do of course, and by the time I figure out where we are, its usually at that point of the ten sons in breath. So, like I was saying take a look around after 3 or 4 hamans have been booed at, you will see everyone has lost it. Half the people including myself are signaling to their friends how many pages are left. People are counting the pages, if you want it to go by faster use the Stone Chumash- the bigger pages will make it seem shorter. Regardless, most of the shul has Megilla Attention Deficit Disorder or MADD.
I personally like the shuls that only bang for the first and last haman, this shul had some lame banging (yes you can insert a sick sexual joke here- in fact every year when people start talking about banging- I just start cracking up- proof of my immaturity of course) The fact there were carpets didn’t help and the fact that scrawny YU kids just don’t seem like the type to scream unless its at one of these color war rallies at Camp Moshava. Also the lack of children was detrimental to the caliber of booing and banging for haman. I noticed there were no free graggers, and no one was shooting cap guns, plain old lame. It seemed like people had other stuff on their minds like the YU purim chaggiga and the local eruv politics.
So I am one of those people that never knows what they are saying during the few times that things of response are said during the megilla reading. My buddy also had no clue what was flying, as I am sure many other people who had lost the place during the first paragraph. So the point of response came up and I mumbled pretending I knew what I was saying- just so I wasn’t the token dude that had no idea, my buddy did the same- I wonder how many others did the same.
I didn’t even realize how lame the banging was until the next day, at the straggler megilla reading at Ohev Shalom for those who partied the night before- that’s a whole different story. So at this reading there were 5 kids and they all had some noise making devices. One of them had a small gragger and one a larger wooden one- the smaller one had gragger envy- I could see it in his eyes.
There really isn’t much to do during megilla, I was suffering intensely even before the halfway point, whatever that was- because my buddy found out where we were in the last perek. There is a feeling of accomplishment to find where you are after it was lost to you. Its kind of like finding out where they are in slichos- or even better hoshanos. Those two things I always get lost and do my own thing and then catch up at the main parts. Megilla is different, you have to sit and suffer. I did some leg crosses, shifted my weight several times and tried squinting at the women to no avail. Ritalin may have helped, I was suffering immensely.
Then it came to me by accident, the lights located directly above me provided me with a perfect venue to work on my hand shadows. So I did dogs and cats and horses and chuckled to myself as one hadn ate the other hand. I should mention that at some point we did receive megillas but they were in Russian, and I just was never down with the whole cerilac thing. If anyone in the shul saw what I was doing it must have looked pretty weird. Here you have some 26 year old dude in the middle of megilla making shadow animals on the red carpet of a shul, but it was fun.
Do you have Megilla Attention Deficit Disorder?
Take a look at my post on Shul Attention Deficit Disorder