Knitting and Purim

I have a special kippah (yalmuke) I wear for Purim: muppet-kipah.jpg

I made a it a few years back out of some Fun Fur, back when the only thing I knew of to do with yarn was to make a kippah.

Purim is a holiday that makes the most sense if one gives oneself over entirely to its frivolity of spirit. With this in mind, I give you an entirely frivolous post, which may be funny to no one but me, since it is a parody of rabbinic literature on the subject of knitting. The following is an excerpt from masechet seruga:

How long should one knit as a preparation for writing? Rabbi Hillel says one should knit until the words flow smoothly. Rabbi Shammai says, two rows.

“Two rows?” asks Rabbi Abuah, “not all rows are equal. How can it be two rows.”

Rabbi BagBag ben BarBar explains: it is the length of two rows for a scarf.

If it is the length of two rows of a scarf, why did Shammai not say how many stitches? Rabbi HooHaa replies: It is two rows of whatever project you are working on, because it is the turning that counts, not the stitches, as it is written, “turn it and turn it and you will find everything in it.”

Rabbi EZ* say: but I am knitting in the round: how do I know when I am to stop.

The rabbis teach that no rules apply to Rabbi EZ. But for those of us who are not of her merit, how do we know when to stop if we are knitting in the round.

The School of Shammai teaches that one should never knit in the round.

Never knit in the round? What about socks?

Rabbi Heyouse says in the name of his master, Rabbi Heyouguys: When I was young, I would go to the School of Shammai and they were all wearing argyle socks.**

“Are they then to be called Clan McShammai?” scoffs Rabbi EZ.

Anyone may wear Argyle says the school of Hillel.

Only those whose Torah learning is great and whose knitting knowledge is greater says school of Shammai.

Only those of Scottish ancestry may wear Argyle says the School of EZ.

Rabbi Hoohaa taught, “in the days of old, any might wear Argyle, but today, we do not wear it out of respect for the Holy One of Blessing, as it is taught, ‘ah, what a tangled web we weave.'”

Happy Purim Everyone .

*For the non knitters: Elizabeth Zimmerman (who is as Hillel to the knitting tradition).

**For the non-knitters: argyle socks are knit flat, and then sewed up the back: they are persnickety beyond belief are require handling between four and eight balls of yarn simultaneously.

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9 Responses to “Knitting and Purim”

  1. Elysbeth Says:

    Very funny, perfect for a Purim evening.

  2. Rebecca Says:

    BWA HA HA. Thank you. That was the funniest thing I’ve seen in ages. 😀

  3. Dorith Carmeli Says:

    Shalom! I had such fun reading your “Knitting and Purim”, thank you! I hope you will manage to finish the socks, it looks quite complicated with all those needles.
    Shalom from Dorith in Israel

  4. Chanagitl Says:

    Marvelous Purim Torah! As a knitter, crocheter, rebbitzen, and student of Talmud, I loved the way you put subjects I am passionate about all together for Purim.

    Shavua tov & Shushan Purim Sameach!
    Chanagitl in Palo Alto

  5. Kim Says:

    The funfur Purim kipah is brilliant! The talmud is hilarious too. Chag sameach (belatedly)!

  6. Sita Says:

    Hi,I came to your site as I was searching fon away of knitting in the round with two needles.I came back today as I liked your blog,though I cant remember what you wrote.I didnot understand much of your post except that it was about how different schools of thought interpret the Scriptures.what you say is true in all religions.It is the note at the end on Tangled Webs that made me stop by.I had given my site that name without understanding the connotation in your culture.:).Regards.

  7. rabbidavidkominsky Says:

    Sita, I’m afraid you misunderstand. This entire blog post was (intended to be) humorous. While I am doing a parody of the style of talmudic debate, it is very much a parody. I have freely used and twisted quotes from various places, including, most certainly, the quote on the subject of the “tangled webs we weave.” As far as I know, that phrase doesn’t actually have any special significance in Judaism. Sorry for the confusion.

  8. Sita Says:

    I had not mentioned that I did enjoy it though,I did not understand it,obviously.No,I meant western culture in general where it seems to have something to do with deceit..It is just that It struck me as funny how different people interpret things based on their experience/perception.No offense meant or taken.Btw,I am ignorant of Jewish ways as I come from a place where there are not much Jewish Population.But I have heard of some of your holidays,due to exposure to teaching material fromthe U.S. I think it is the humour that runs through your writing,very sublimly,that is attractive.

  9. Exciting News For Lumpy Sweater Readers! « The Lumpy Sweater Says:

    […] started to flow. Rabbi David Kominsky left a comment, and a link to his own humorous post about religion and knitting. Reverend Deb said that her new knitting group was making daily […]


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