I just got back from a briss. Not mine, thankfully. That's long-since past. This was the second child for the kids of a friend of mine. I did what I did the time before -- showed up for support, and intentionally stationed myself as far back in the room as possible, so as not to be able to see the actual event itself.
I have no interest in seeing a briss take place. I have no interest to simply hear a briss take place. While I fully support the action and tradition, I have little interest in even thinking about a briss taking place. There were some women in the back of the room cringing. Imagine the reaction of guys. Welcome to my world.
What I didn't understand was all the people -- especially guys -- who had gotten to the front and were leaning in to get a better look. You really want to watch?? Seriously? Taking notes, perhaps, in case there's a briss emergency, and you're called to officiate?
No, no, standing in the back and offering moral support is just fine by me. And besides, there's a big added benefit -- I was standing next to the buffet table, so I got to the food right away before the masses converged on it. My plate was filled, and I was out before the log jam.
The most fun part was how pissy the rabbi got -- actually, I guess in this case he was officially a moile -- whenever the crowd got noisy. Ostensibly, it was so people could hear what he was saying, but then if I was him, I'd want the room silent, too, before I did what I was there to do. More to the point, if I was the baby, I'd want the the room silent. Actually, I'd want to the room cleared. But silence is the next best option.
If you haven't been to a briss, you're not missing much. No pun intended. It doesn't take long -- again, no pun intended. The only problem (other than watching) is if the rabbi/moile is talkative, and you got the full history of The Chosen People and any other philosophic discussions a rabbi is wont to do. In this case, he said that he figured most people there had had enough talks with Rosh Hoshanah just passed, and Yom Kippur around the corner, so he'd keep it short. I don't remember him being long-winded the last time, so I just think he'd reasonably thoughtful. Which is good, because you really want the guy to be completely focused on the main thing he's there for, not getting his lecture right.
So, things went well, it's over, and the baby survived. The crowd, too. And happily, I got through the buffet line quickly. L'Chaim.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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