Bought from the Bolsheviks

Thankfully, I can use this phrase without sounding insensitive, since the Bolshevik revolution ended about a century ago. Of course, it could still sound insensitive, because me saying it is one way to get something past the radar.  I came up with this phrase in my sophomore year of high school after learning about the Bolsheviks in my World History course.

I have always been innocent in terms of not producing “four-letter words” out of my own mouth, but obviously could not shield myself from others fouling up the aural atmosphere. At least once, I heard that some of my classmates did well on written assignments in this history class by turning in ([Chicago’s NBA team] hit)*.  Or, as is perhaps more appropriate, B.S.

Well, by twisting the pronunciation of Bolshevik a little bit, you can sort of see where the pronunciation of (cuckoo!) reminds me. I was a firm believer in giving a good faith effort to my assignments in high school.

However, I will admit that there are some times where I have bought something from the Bolsheviks (i.e., B.S’d something).  Earlier in that year, I had a paper that I had to write for English class, and I did a horrible job of the first draft. I have a quasi-excuse for this: my car was rammed earlier in the day, so my mind was also racing.  Thankfully, this assignment was a first draft, and I still got a good grade on the final result.

The most frequent time that I refer to buying from the Bolsheviks: at services. Reading from the תורה (Torah) is very difficult, as there are only the letters–there are no dots or dashes to indicate vowels (ניקוד) or musical notes (trope). The pronunciation of words is very important,  but the singing is not so much.

Therefore, I sometimes get lost in the singing, and begin to buy the trope from the Bolsheviks as I read. Another way that I buy the trope from the Bolsheviks is to just READ (i.e., not chant) the portion… this happened on the High Holidays a few years ago in Evanston when I failed to learn the tune for the readings on ראש השנה ויום כיפור (Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur). I did my reading with the “Sarah Kelen Trope,” as I never heard her chant when she leined (read from the Torah) (she is a member of my synagogue in Lincoln).

Well, I’m reading the הפטרה (Haftarah) on Saturday, and although I will have the words down pretty well, it has been a long time since I have read הפטרה, and may therefore buy some of the trope from the Bolsheviks. Despite the fact that reading הפטרה has all of the marks in the reading… but we’ll see!

Hmm… so maybe I’m simply buying the trope from the Bolsheviks in exchange for my חמץ (leavened)!

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