Isaac Kaplan

"Is it any wonder I've got too much time on my hands?"

Monday, November 13, 2006

Getting An Aliyah

I never understood why some people go crazy about aliyos. Some people fight tooth and nail for an aliyah, they'll pay tons of money for one, and they'll scream at the gabbaim if they're not called up often enough. What's it all about?

I just don't get it. I mean, it's a kibud, but how many people really take it seriously? Has any ever said, "you know, I thought Chaim Yankel was a real loser, but now that he got shishi, hey, the guy is cool! I wanna be his best friend." No. Doesn't happen. So why do people go so crazy about aliyos? I'll admit that Maftir Yonah is pretty cool to get. But the richies who get it don't need that kibud to get everyone slobbering over their tuchuses. They just buy it to rub it in our faces. (Nah, seriously, it's nice to see them giving lots of money to a shul.)

Besides, the few people who go home after davening and analyze the aliyah recipients like Tony LaRussa goes through his lineup card are in serious need of a life. (Gabbaim, of course, are the exception to the rule here. It's there job to follow this stuff, after all.) One guy in my brother's shul always has to know "who got shlishi? who got revi'i?" Get a life. You're telling me you have nothing better to worry about? In that case, I envy you.

One thing that I find nice about an aliyah is that you get to express your pride as a Jew and a recipient of the Torah. I try to think about "asher bochar bonu" and "v'chayei olam nota b'socheinu" when I get an aliyah. It gives you the opportunity to think of how we're supposed to feel honored and priveleged that we've received the Torah. However, I wonder if the people who go nuts over getting called up to the Torah actually think of the brachos when they're up there.

Some people get excited about an aliyah because then they get a mi shebairach for them and the family. Heck, we all get one. Ever look at the Mi SheBairach after Yekum Purkan? It says "kol khal hakodesh hazeh." Everyone's included. So who needs a mi shebairach where every cousin has to be mentioned by name, and a tremendous bizayon bais haknesses occurs as a result? I'll pass, thank you very much.

So overall, I can't go too crazy about an aliyah. I won't turn one down, but to lose sleep over not getting one? Please.

-- One thing I find VERY patronizing: People who give a big shkoyach to the kohen after a Monday morning aliyah. Come on. The guy only got called up there because he was the only kohen in the room. That doesn't earn a shkoyach in my book. Certainly not one with a big cheesy smile and double-handed handshake.


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