We’re now less than ten days away from Shavuot.
Yesterday I reviewed the Kabalat Shabat section of a World Union for Progressive Judaism service. Today, I’ll continue my look at that service with Shma Uvirchoteiha, the Shma and its Blessings.
This section of the service is surprisingly complete in this sidur packet. We have, as one would expect from any Progressive liturgy, the Barchu, Ma’ariv Aravim and Ahavat Olam. What happens next, however, is the unexpected part: The whole Shma. We get the line beginning “Shma Yisrael etc.” We get “Baruch Shem kavod etc.” We get “V’ahavta et Adonai… beitecha uvishareicha.” Then, shock of all shocks, we get the second paragraph of the Shma! i have never seen this in any Reform liturgy. Of course, we must keep in mind that this is not just a Reform liturgy. Because this is a World Union-compiled piece, this is a PROGRESSIVE liturgy. The WUPJ encompasses the Jewish Reconsturctionist Federation and I don’t know enough about Recon liturgy to say whether or not they include this paragraph.
And then I looked again and actually read the second paragraph they give us in this service. It is not the paragraph one would normally find in this place! It is some wishy-washy stuff from D’varim 30! The pargraph we would normally find here if from D’varim 11! Lets see what this business from D’varim 30 has to say:
Surely, this instruction which I enjoin upon you this day is not too baffling to you, nor is it beyond reach. It is not in the heavens, that you should say, “Who among us can go up the heavens and get it for us and impoart is to us, that we may observe it?” Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, “Who among us can cross to the other side of the sea and get it for us and impart it to us, that we may observe it?” No, the thing is very close to you, in your mouth and in your heart, to observe it.
Um. Yeah. So that’s very nice and all, but IT’S NOT IN THE V’AHAVTA! This section is about reward and punishment, action and consequence, not a chance to throw Lo Bashamayim Hi into the mix, which althought it’s a very nice quote, doesn’t go here! I never use all caps when I’m writing. You can see how upset this has me. Anyway, then they have the third paragraph, normal and as it should be.
Then Emet V’emunah happens, all normal, until the lead up to Mi Chamochah. I’ve written about Mi Chamochah previously here and here. I’m still pretty ambivalent about this whole Miryam issue. The editors of this service are not so ambivalent. Not only do they give us “Mosheh UMiryam uVnei Yisrael etc.,” they give us something even more expected in the lead-up to that. “V’ra’u Vanav uVanotav g’vurato etc.” I suppose it makes sense. If we’re going to say Avot V’Imahot elsewhere, to say Sons and Daughters of Israel here. I’m not sure how I feel about it though. The whole redemptive shabang concludes with the Israeli Progressive version of the chatimah, “Go’el Yisrael” instead of “Ga’al Yisrael.” I’m not convinced that it really makes a difference either way.
Hashkiveinu and V’shamru are intact and unmolested.
And now, the Omer: