13 October 2006

Torah dreamin'

This post isn't going to make a lot of sense to a lot of people, but some of you might find it funny. Anyone who wants to try to analyze the following dream, go for it!

Some background: I'm very blessed to be part of a community that encourages women's Torah readings on Simchat Torah, the holiday where we celebrate the culmination of reading the cycle of Torah by immediately starting right from the beginning again. Traditionally, there is dancing, singing and all-around joy-making. There are many more observant communities, however, where women do not have the opportunity to read Torah, carry the Torah, hold the Torah or dance with the Torah. Halachically (according to Jewish law), there is no reason why women can't hold and dance with the Torah (women reading Torah is a long, complicated issue that involves too much explanation for this post); it's a matter of minhag, or custom, that some orthodox shuls see as iron-clad and unchangeable. So Simchat Torah isn't necessarily a joyous holiday for a lot of observant women.

On to the dream:
I entered the shul that is hosting the women's reading, and someone immediately handed me a Torah to carry. But I noticed people were standing around talking, and the service had somehow come to a halt, so I turned around to hand the Torah back to the men's section, but there was no one there to take it. I turn back to the room, where a group of people are socializing, which is completely disrespectful when the Torah is out, and holler, "Hel-LLLLLOH! Carrying the Torah, here!"

Nobody pays me no never mind, so I go up to the bima (the table where the Torah scroll is placed for reading) to put the Torah into the Aron Hakodesh, or ark, myself. But when I open the door to the ark, it opens into a room, where kids are playing and a smaller ark is against the wall. The doors are open, the Torahs are exposed, and these kids are playing (again, disrespectful). I must have put the Torah away at that point. I left the little room, and find myself back in the sanctuary, which has been cleared of benches. And the mechitza (partition). Men and women are mingling together in the back of the room! The raised women's section has been taken down and is now just extra floor space!

I'm angry, because this is an orthodox shul. I agreed to read Torah for the women's reading because I knew the women would be in a separate area from the men. But apparently, the rules have been changed. This shul decided Simchat Torah was the time to shake things up and have men and women sit together. I won't read in this environment.

The real shocker came when I was standing there, trying to figure out what to do, who to talk to, when I realize:

MY HAIR IS UNCOVERED!!! I have no scarf or hat on!

For me, that's like being naked. It's the same feeling as when you realize that you've been walking around for half an hour with your skirt tucked into your underpants after using the washroom. Or what celebrities feel like when a boob accidently pops out of their barely-there Oscar gown.

Oh, wait. They like when that happens. Publicity. Right.

Anyway, I think that was the end of my dream. I don't remember anything after that (too shocked, perhaps?). Isn't there some Freudian thing about being naked in a dream? Who knows what it means, but in a weird way, it's comforting. If I'm upset about a breach of Jewish law, and having my hair uncovered in my dreams, then I've made the right choice in reality.

(Ohhhhh, maybe this ties in with the family crap I mentioned in my previous post? Hmm...)


At 16/10/06 12:14 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm... yes, does sound like a "naked" dream. And with you walking around the whole time trying to play by the rules, only to find everyone's just doing whatever they want... and they seem to be quite happy with it... and you're getting frustrated about it all... ok over to you for the interpretation again.


At 16/10/06 9:28 p.m., Blogger projgen said...

Oooh, Bea, I didn't think of it like that - that's exactly how I feel about where I live! Drivers run red lights constantly, don't signal, pedestrians cross streets willy-nilly, nobody seems to know the "keep right" rule on the sidewalk, nobody follows the general rules of simple consideration of others ... I constantly feel like sometimes I'm the only one who cares about the "rules"!

That actually carries over into my Jewish life, as well - as with any group, I find people not treating others as we are commanded to. Imagine an elderly woman who lives alone, with no children in the area, whom everyone knows, but no one invites for lunch on Shabbat, when "the need for caring for guests" is something we say in our daily prayers (believe it or not, I could religiously tie this into fertility. *sigh* Maybe it's worth a post.)

I think we've found the interpretation. Thanks, Bea!


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