Swinging the Big Chicken

No, I don’t actually perform that particular ritual (even though I live in Brooklyn), but yes, it’s that time of year again. And so I thought I’d take the opportunity to apologize to the readership of TAS for having posted so infrequently, and for, when I have posted, posting almost exclusively about Canadian productions of Shakespeare. And to apologize as well to anyone among the readers or my fellow posters or others who may have come into contact with me through this site, for having done injury to them or caused them hurt, either through action on my part or through inaction on my part, either knowingly or unknowingly.

And now, a little story (from Agnon’s Days of Awe, passed on to me by a friend) about how to observe the Sabbath with proper reverence when the Day of Atonement abrogates the usual means of celebrating the Lord’s day.

When the holy Sabbath has a worthy guest like the New Moon, it surrenders one prayer. [For when the New Moon falls on a Sabbath, the Additional Prayer for the New Moon is said, and not that of Sabbath.]- When the Sabbath has a guest who is even greater than the New Moon, it surrenders all its prayers [for when a holiday falls on a Sabbath all the prayers of the holiday are said, and not that of Sabbath], but it does not surrender any of its feasts. But when the Sabbath has a guest who is very great, than whom is none greater, that is the holy day, Yom Kippur – Io, it surrenders all its prayers and all its feasts too. [Sippurim u-Maamarim Yekarim]
The pious Rabbi Leib, called "the Sabbath observer," used to walk behind his servant with his eyes shut when he had to pass through the market on the Sabbath. On Friday he used to go to buy all the Sabbath necessities himself. When he would come to the flour vendor, he would say to him, "Give Leib the best flour in honor of the holy Sabbath." And when he would come to the butcher he would say to him, "Give Leib the best meat in honor of the Sabbath." And he said the same when he bought fish and all the other necessities for the Sabbath.

When Yom Kippur would fall on a Sabbath, he would prepare all the Sabbath necessities according to his custom for every other Sabbath during the year, and set the table. When he came home after the prayer of Kol Nidre, he would sit down at table and say, "Master of the universe, the obstacle to observing the Sabbath is not on my part. I would like to delight in the Sabbath, as you have commanded. But you have said that we must afflict ourselves on this day, and so, since that is your will, Leib is leaving everything on the table according to your will.

Those of you who do fast, have an easy one. And may we all be inscribed and sealed for a sweet, healthy and productive year.