The Hagbah/Gelilah Radius
By David Sheril
You: Week before your Shabbos Bar Mitzvah.
Shul Demographic: All your parent’s friends + guests who’ve arrived early.
Distance of Pursuit: Within the main shul and hallway. Even if you’re in the upstairs Ezras Nashim, they’ll send up that old guy who just barges in to get you.
Rationale: “Just a reminder that this is the last time we can only force you into a single annoying task so we can be lazy. From now on it’s Mussaf every week so that we can leave/ hit the kiddush before Aleinu and Anim Zemiros – you can thank us when you grow up and appreciate the opportunity.”
You: Week after your Shabbos Bar Mitzvah.
Shul Demographic: Same parent’s friends + late-staying guests (why are they always still there?)
Distance of Pursuit: Within the men’s section only. The effort is more for show than anything else.
Rationale: “We want to show your membership-paying parents that we don’t just bomb you with candy and forget you – but your father only donates $18 for an Aliyah, and we’ve got fatter cows to milk.”
You: Only guy wearing a colored shirt.
Shul Demographic: White shirters and up (i.e. hat, jacket, shtreimel etc.).
Distance of Pursuit: Anywhere within the room. If you’ve snuck into the Ezras Nashim in the back – you’re still getting busted. Upstairs – you’re safe!
Rationale: “We don’t know if this guy pronounces Hebrew like us, or can even read Hebrew at all, so we’ll play it safe while still showing him our kiruv spirit.”
Shul Demographic: Your grandparent’s shul in Boca.
Distance of Pursuit: They’ll knock down the bathroom stall door if necessary.
Rationale: “Hey! There’s finally someone who can lift this thing without slipping a disc – grab him!”
You: Incessantly prattling about how the gym has changed your life.
Shul Demographic: Every other human in the known galaxy – This one crosses lines and trumps prejudice.
Distance of Pursuit: Within finger-pointing radius. (You know – the “Right here” gesture just above a person’s head)
Rationale: “The classic 2 birds with one stone meets “Ze nehene ve’zeh lo chosser” combo: Schwarzenegger-wannabe here gets to use his arms, while everyone else gets some quiet time from him using his mouth.” (Especially effective in Haftorah situations)
You: Only guy who’s semi-awake.
Shul Demographic: Neytz (a.k.a Hashkama) minyan.
Distance of Pursuit: Yet again, sorry pal but faking “toilet time” isn’t getting you out of this particular episode.
Rationale: “Look around buddy; does anybody here strike you as the type who’ll enjoy fasting for 40 days or donating a nice wad of cash ‘cos of some still-catatonic Magbiah…Didn’t think so…”
Situation: Hagbah or Gelilah
You: Obvious non-regular.
Shul Demographic: Kabbalists in Tzefas.
Distance of Pursuit: The depths of your soul, brother. But seriously – anywhere visible through the “Kedushah aiding” smoke.
Rationale: “The Talmud and Zohar clearly state that “Gelilat Ha’Torah” is the highest honor a person can receive during davening, and its good karma to honor wayfaring guests. That – and the fact that the rest of us are more blitzed than the front row on the final day of The Woodstock Festival”