Sunday, October 1, 2023

Happy Chol Hamoed Succos 5784!

On the holiday of Succos, the Rejoicing of the Water-drawing would take place inside the Women's Courtyard. The celebration began on the second night of the holiday when the great sages and pious men of the generation would assemble in this courtyard to dance, juggle, and sing God's praises while scores of Leviim stood upon the fifteen round steps in front of the Nikanor Gate (in the western wall of this courtyard) providing musical accompaniment.

Numerous spectators, both men and women, stood along the sides of the courtyard to watch these festivities. This rejoicing continued all night until dawn when, with great ceremony, a delegation was dispatched to a nearby spring to draw water for that day's water libations which would be poured onto the Altar. The Mishnah (Succah 5:4) describes this point of the proceedings as follows: 

וְעָמְדוּ שְׁנֵי כֹהֲנִים בַּשַּׁעַר הָעֶלְיוֹן שֶׁיּוֹרֵד מֵעֶזְרַת יִשְׂרָאֵל לְעֶזְרַת נָשִׁים, וּשְׁתֵּי חֲצוֹצְרוֹת בִּידֵיהֶן. קָרָא הַגֶּבֶר, תָּקְעוּ וְהֵרִיעוּ וְתָקָעוּ


Two Kohanim stood at the Upper Gate that descends from the Israelites’ Courtyard to the Women’s Courtyard (i.e., the Nikanor Gate), with two trumpets in their hands. When the rooster crowed at dawn, they sounded a tekiah, a teruah, and a tekiah. 

This post features a Lego® trumpeter. He is attired in the standard vestments and is holding a trumpet made from an antenna and a 2x2 radar dish. Although these standard parts do not come in chrome, there are a number of companies (here is one) who sell Lego® parts in chrome and other metallic colors. There are also paints for simulating chrome on your own bricks.

The trickier part of this build is getting the minifig to hold the trumpet in a natural pose. For those familiar with the limited range of motion of the minifig, the hand placement in my model is unexpected, but rest assured that no Lego® was harmed in the building of this model. Nor was Photoshop used to modify any of the parts (but I did use it to add the light flare, which is solely for artistic effect since, as mentioned above, this scene took place before sunrise). Before we get to the reveal, here is another view of the model:

To get the arms and hands in this pose, I had to (temporarily) detach them from the minifig. As separate components, they can be clipped onto the body of the trumpet in what appears to be a natural position. The next problem is how to allow the armless Kohen to hold his trumpet, and the answer is that he doesn't. The trumpet is a free-standing sub-assembly that is carefully aligned with the minifig's body. By photographing the model from just the right angle and using just the right amount of zoom, the Kohen looks like he is really tooting his own horn. Here is the setup that I used:

Bonus question: May an armless Kohen blow the trumpet for the water libation? Having two arms is a requirement for participating in the avodah, but is trumpeting part of the avodah? I learned recently in Yoma 12a (doing my Oraysa) that, according to Rav Huna, tasks that support or hasten the avodah are considered parts of the actual avodah such that a non-Kohen who performed them would be liable for doing so. Now, the pouring of the water libation is a part of the Succos avodah, and depending on how wide we set the definition of "supporting tasks" this may or may not come to include the trumpeting. I did not research this question in detail, but please comment with ideas or sources. A gut moed!

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