Nineteen

Note: Today’s post is an audio post, available on my SoundCloud channel.

EDIT on August 24 or 25: Obviously something went wrong with the sound recording. I have re-recorded this post, and it didn’t go “robot” on me unless my voice is robotic anyway!)

In many of my previous posts, I have harped about the significance of the number 21 in my life… ever since the Israel trip when it became salient to me.

However, after some recent considerations, I have found that 19 is a pretty significant number too… for three personal reasons and one song-based reason. I suppose I’ll cite the song first… after you click on the spoiler if you are reading from the Reader or my main page…

As is common for 80’s songs that I like, the song is a one-hit wonder in the USA, and it is indeed eponymous. It’s Paul Hardcastle’s “19.”

But, let me shift from a somewhat serious song to a joyous song when considering another song-based thing with the number nineteen.

In services at Northwestern Hillel, we used the 1998 version of Siddur Sim Shalom for Shabbat and Festivals. During the קבלת שבת (Kabbalat Shabbat) service, one of my favorite tunes is for Psalm 98. Because this is a vocal post, you’ll get to hear my voice singing it. Here is the translation of the part that I sang (courtesy Chabad.org):

“The sea and the fullness thereof will roar, the inhabited world and the inhabitants thereof. Rivers will clap hands; together mountains will sing praises. Before the Lord, for He has come to judge the earth; He will judge the inhabited world justly and the peoples with equity.” (Nonsense syllables “yi” and “ni” followed by singing “nineteen”)

There is a reason for finishing with “nineteen” with the nonsense syllables. In the siddur mentioned in the previous paragraph, this psalm is on page 18. And I’ve always enjoyed being a page-caller at services. Thus, singing “nineteen” at the end of the nigun (wordless melody) has become a tradition of mine, and will be missed at Northwestern Hillel next year… I’m going to miss it too!

Shifting now to another celebratory use of the number 19, that is the date of the month six months in the future (or past!) corresponding to my brother’s birthday.

And one thing not so celebratory: for the first several years that we lived in our house in Lincoln, the 19th of each month would be the day that we would read the electric meter, so as to pay our bill. Ha! This idea is salient to me since I will now be paying my bills monthly rather than quarterly. The perks of graduation!

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Orientation: 5 days.

Stout teaching starts: 21 days.

Rosh Hashanah: 26 days.

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P.S. Apologies for the lack of updates on my blog this week! It’s been busy trying to get moved in!

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