Comprehensive coverage

The Muscle Song Chapter M Jumping and having fun

At the beginning of the Middle Ages, an interesting image appears in the sources regarding the subject in this language: "A custom in Babylon and in Elam." The young men make a shape in the shape of manna and place it on their roofs for four or five days, and on the day of Purim they make a big bonfire and throw the shape into the fire and throw a lot of salt on it to make it sound.

Jumping for joy. Illustration: shutterstock
Jumping for joy. Illustration: shutterstock

Jumping, as the crown of sports, developed during the period of chivalry and then during the Renaissance.
At the beginning of the Middle Ages, an interesting image appears in the sources regarding the subject in this language: "A custom in Babylon and in Elam." The young men make a shape in the shape of manna and place it on their roofs for four or five days, and on the day of Purim they make a big bonfire and throw the shape into the fire and throw a lot of salt on it to make it sound. And the guys stand around her and sing in all kinds of happy songs. And it also has a ring hanging from the fire, in which manna will be poured, and it will jump from one side of the fire to the other side" (Guarnica II, p. 3).

In the same source, it is also told about similar amusements on the day of Purim, such as: "Defurya who will jump from side to side and pass through the fire like this bird (the legendary phoenix, the phoenix) ... through transference" (ibid.). However, they were not satisfied with that, but would place a row of bricks, between which a fire was burning on both sides, and there they performed the "Mashurta Dapuria", that is, the jumping house of the holiday of Purim. And they piled bricks on top of bricks, which the boys would jump and pass over, and the one who excelled in his jumps, built a "line". That is, raises the height bar. Jumps of this kind were for both height and distance.

The owner of the "Aruch Hashem" in the 11th century mentions the aforementioned ring involved in Purim entertainment, and claims that "the same ring is called Meshvarta, that is, the house of the jump" (Aruch Hashem, 42 p. 11). The fact that this event happened again and again in the XNUMXth century may teach us that this custom earned him a strike in the Jewish communities on Purim.

Rashi in the 11th century also took the trouble to refer to "meshvarta depuria", and said that the jumper "does not move with his legs, but jumps with his legs in the way that babies (that is, boys) jump on the days of Purim, that there was a digging in the land and the fire was burning in it and he jumped from lip to lip" ( Rashi to the Sanhedrin Sed p. XNUMX).

Rabbi Elazar bar Natan (1170-1090) translated "a rough step" on Shabbat as "jump", meaning "one who jumps and uproots both his feet from the earth" (Sefer HaRaban Siman XNUMX). And we saw above that "rough step" usually refers to a fast walk. However, some of the leaders of the crowd had such a step as if they were jumping, because the person walking fast seems to be running or jumping.

Both Rabbi Ya'akov ben Asher, the son of the Rash, the author of the "Torim" and the author of the 13th century Samak of Ashkenaz testify to "guys enjoying their jumping" on Shabbat, and that this sport was permitted according to the rabbinic ruling. Furthermore, we learned that the sports events that were performed on Shabbat were at the will of the rabbis and community leaders. The latter saw this activity in terms of "Sabbath pleasure" as entertainment. In doing so, they stimulated Jewish sports directly. And so the owner of "All Bo" from Ashkenaz testifies in this period about "guys who delight in their running and jumping is permissible (that is, on Shabbat) because they do not wish to earn as well as to see anything that they delight in seeing" (All Bo means no).
That is, the opinion of the sages was not comfortable with the situation in which the boys competed in running and jumping, when the winner won a certain amount of money, to teach us that it was sometimes customary to hold competitions of this kind between the boys. And if the sages agreed to hold sports competitions among the Jews on Shabbat for pleasure, and here is the excuse, as "Shabbat pleasure", then we have further encouragement from the community leadership in Beer to hold sports meetings.

Rabbi Hananal, in his commentary to the Babylonian Talmud, explains the Talmudic expression "Dhak Kapiza" in this language: "Like carving a groove in a crutch in a place that is the measure of a Kapiza (jump)" (Shabbat KG p. XNUMX). Which may dictate an average long jump distance, or perhaps determining the starting line and the long jump pit as is customary in sports today.

The owner of the "Shulchan Aruch" in the 16th century reiterated the permission to jump on Shabbat for pleasure and made it clear that if a person walks (on Shabbat) and reaches a body of water, he is allowed to skip and jump over it... "Even if the intention is to exercise and warm up for medicinal purposes, Shari (ie, it is permissible)... ” (Orach Haim, Laws of Shabbat, Siman XNUMX). Here, jumping appears as part of exercise, either as preventive medicine or as a general warm-up before activity. In any case, the essay in question, whose publication has been published for a long time, summarizes the position of the leadership towards a popular phenomenon that cannot be erased, here as well as in many other cases as we mentioned.

The 16th century Ramf in northern Italy misses those days when the lads jumped and ran for pleasure and amusement, and like him the rai of Modena in the 17th century in Italy, because in those days the lads used to organize the sports events and entertainment on a financial basis. That is, that the winner won an amount of money. It is clear that such a phenomenon on Shabbat was contrary to the instructions of the heads of the audience, but even here reality finally prevailed.

The ring finger stood out as part of the joy in Hasidism. This is how, for example, Rabbi Yair Chaim ben Moshe Shimshon spoke in the volume about the virtue of jumping and dancing among the Chassidim and in praise of those activities.

The amusements of all kinds were closely related to the development of the Jewish theater in the Middle Ages when the holiday of Purim became a Jewish carnival, following which Purim games were born.
The Jews of Italy during the Renaissance played a very important role in the development of the theater, when the "Game of Purim" gave them thorough training for this. And it is known that this game aroused great interest among their neighbors, who flocked to watch it, as long as they could do so without being punished. The Jewish theater received an important development in the city of Mantua (Mantua) in Italy as well as in Venice and other northern cities, when in the framework of those theatrical performances all kinds of physical amusements were expressed.

The owner of the "Aruch Hashem" in the 11th century, about "Anketamine" testifies to the form of a donkey that those clowns carried on their shoulders, and like him also Rashi in the 11th century who translates "Khamra Dakhfi" as an expression that appears in the Talmud. The owner of the "Aruch Hashem" says that "from B. long, thin trees are brought, and in them there is a place for the feet in the D. Amot, and the upper arm is united with his legs (of the juggler), and he stands on them and walks and dances in them" (Vol. 296, p. XNUMX). And about "Padami" the "Aruch Hashem" said that it "is similar to the crown of kings, and it is of copper, and one puts it on his head and brings a kind of wooden horse and rides on it and plays with it" (ibid.). Those commentators describe, in fact, the reality of their day among the Jews of Europe.
It is worth noting that the origin of the jumping horse these days, or the jumping donkey, is in the training of medieval knights, which combined skilled-professional activity and entertainment. There may be an interesting connection here between the knightly amusement and the Jewish amusements mentioned above.

The Rabbi in the 15th century testifies, following a question addressed to him from the Jews of the city of Marseilles in France, about Reuben and Shimon (two borrowed names indicating the explosiveness of the phenomenon as a kind of so-and-so and unknown) who did a "shachok" in their house on the holiday of Purim and caused heavy damage to the structure, when the intention was for physical amusements and the reshab" A was very light in his ruling on this matter.

Among the Jewish jugglers in Spain in the 14th century, the two sons of the famous doctor Shmuel Elfaki of Pamplona were mentioned.

Avraham Colorni from Italy in the late 16th century, boasts of his many talents as an inventor, as a military engineer... and as a juggler, and Rabbi Simcha Luzzatto, a contemporary, testifies to the occupation of the Jews of Venice in entertainment on Shabbat days.

Even in Hasidism, the juggling acts of amusement stand out. For example, it is told about Rabbi Avraham Makulisek, who headed a group of Hassidim, and who became famous for their way of "joking about all the students...always turning head down and foot up" (Agrat Rabbi Shnior Zalman of Lausanne, Peri Ha'aretz, Beit Rabbi, part 85. 84-XNUMX). The amusements were not perceived by the Hasids as abrogation of the Torah, but on the contrary, which is evidenced to this very day. And perhaps we will recall this, as I mentioned in one of the first chapters on physical activity during the period of the Mishna and the Talmud, about the president of the Sanhedrin, Rabbi Shimon ben Gamaliel the old man, who used to juggle publicly at the Simchat of the Beit HaShuaba, and in another source in the Mishnah it is reported about a similar custom of "Hashidim and men of action (Sh) were Markadin Before them (before the priests who performed the lighting ceremony) with the lamp of light in their hands" (Sukkah XNUMX:XNUMX), in order to learn about the continuity in the collective historical memory.

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