Friday, June 20, 2008

If July 4 Coincides with Shabbat...

This year, Independence Day falls on Friday, thereby coinciding with Shabbat, at sunset. I’ve done some research to see what Jewish practices are in order, and came across a little known rabbinic source related to “Ethics of the Fathers,” called “Ethics of the Uncles.” There I found the following, attributed to “Dod Sh’muel,” or “Sam, the Uncle.” The relevant section is embedded in a chapter entitled, “DOD SHMUEL’S TOP TEN LISTS.”


1)We begin the Shabbat with not 2, but 3 candles. The third is to be lit by remote control from a safe vantage point at least 100 feet away.

2)At the Sabbath meal, 2 hallot are served, each with apple pie filling.

3)Cookouts are allowed, as long as the charcoals are lit before sunset and the food is prepared beforehand. In other words, cookouts are not allowed.

4)It is customary to sing Adon Olam, to the tune of “Yankee Doodle Dandy.”

5)When reciting the Amida, instead of facing Jerusalem, we face Washington D.C. Or if Joe Lieberman is in town, we simply face him.

6)When walking around with the Torah, it is customary for the cantor and rabbi to do a do-si-do with the president, singing “Turkey in the Straw.”

7)At the beginning of the Torah reading, the Gabbai (sexton) shouts, “Play Ball” and the reader takes the yad (pointer) and tries to knock a knish out of the park.

8)The popular Shabbat afternoon dish known as cholent, featuring simmering vegetables and chunks of meat, is pureed so that all the items blend together and then simmered in a melting pot.

9)NASCAR runs the “Shabbat 500.” Precisely at sundown, all the drivers get out of their cars and run for the finish line.

10)Finally, for one day of the year, Lubavitch Hasidim replace their furry streumels with red and white striped top hats, and then go around to Jews imploring, “We want YOU.”

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