Today I have a terrible cold, as I did yesterday. However in my sickbed (when I am not trying to read Napoleon: A Life), I contemplate how on Monday evening when I went to shul for the Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah we celebrated the way only Jews can. In Judaism there are numerous (minor) holidays and each one is like a mini-Christmases–well, except for Tish B’ Av and Yom Kippur, which are fast days. The joy is all spread out over the year.
Anyway, Cynthia and I went to Simchat Torah. We read a Call-and-Response section, and then I went up to open the bimah (where the Torah is held) so two scrolls could be taken out. Then the scrolls were carried around the room, with all of the other Jews–or many of the other Jews–following the holders of the scroll. We had no Kohens (priests) or Levites (descendants of the tribe of Levi) so ordinary Jews carried the scrolls each time. The Shocron family brought candy, and Mrs. Shocron (I should know her first name by now) threw candy at the kids in the room. For myself, I admit to filching a couple of pieces of candy for myself even as I danced in circles around the synagogue. It was very chaotic, but it was the most fun I have ever had for Simchat Torah.
Then we read the section of the Torah relevant for the Holiday. I got to read the blessings for the second section (I had a December birthday) and the kids read the third blessing. Then a few more prayers were said, and we called it a night. Alas, I would be going to the synagogue the next morning to pray: Cynthia could take me there but not take me back.
Now, like I said, I filched some of the candy. So did a few other adults, following my example. I guess you could say I was “the corrupter of the elderly.” However, I saw the kids afterwards, pouring their loot onto a table in one of the rooms for preschoolers and I would say that they made out like bandits anyway. It hardly matters that I filched some of the candy, or that Paul did, or even Royce a couple of pieces.
I heard a person talk about how they had read literally dozens of books from a sci-fi Cat books to their kid. They compared it favorably to Jane Austen’s novels. It is impressive if the series was all written by the same author and retained its original quality through all the stories, like (for instance) Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple, or Poirot. I told them about my sci-fi Cat book which I wrote at 20, and when I finish my additions to it, I may give the dad who read it to his kids in the hopes that he (at least) will enjoy it. Children of the Cat Goddess is a little primitive and when completed perhaps still not on the level of my later work, but perhaps he will humor me anyway.