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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Juggling Bowling Balls in Modiin - don't try this at home

[WARNING: DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME or anywhere else for that matter]
This is Scott Juggling 3 heavy bowling balls...for real!

Where do we have a reference to Juggling from the Torah? Amazingly enough there seems to be reference to juggling in a number of early Jewish sources. These sources include the Mishna, the first major written redaction of the Jewish oral traditions called the "Oral Torah" - The Mishna was written about 2000 years ago (which even dates back to biblical times in it's oral form.)

The reference in the Mishna reads as follows (Tractate Succah, Chapter 5, Mishna 4) "Pious and prominent men used to dance with burning torches in their hands before the thousands of celebrants; they sang before them songs and praises to G-d. The Levites played on harps and lyres, and with cymbals, trumpets, and numerous musical instruments, upon the fifteen steps leading down to the courtyard." 

The Mishna is describing the celebrations at the Temple in Jerusalem during the Festival of Succoth.  The commentary of Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaki of Troyes, France, 1040-1105 CE) explains the words: "with burning torches"as follows:  "They would throw them up and catch them again, and there were experts who would have 4 or 8, throwing this one and catching this one, throwing this one and catching this one." (This Rashi can also be found in Talmud Bavli, Tractate Succah, first Rashi at the top of 51:b)
The Famous Commentary on the Mishna, Rav Ovadia M'Bartenura explains it similar.

Having said that... There is a great & special mitzva in the Torah to be happy. As the song goes: "Mitzva Gedola Lehiyot B'Simcha" - so I can imagine all the more so, what a great Mitzva it is to make other people happy. I think Scott the Juggler does this one really well. Watch the 6 second video clip above of co-worker and friend, Scott  as he juggles 3 heavy bowling balls at the Yeshpro Bowling Alley in Modiin, Israel. If this doesn't put a smile on your face ...... then watch it again.
Sources: Information about Juggling in Biblical Times was adapted from an article which originally appeared in Your Jerusalem, July, 1997 by Raphael Harris, and recently discovered on Scott The Jugglers Website.

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