Sunday, March 23, 2008

Purim Roundup

Actually, it's not really a Purim roundup. It's just a look into the archaic world of Graggering and Banging at the mention of Haman.
It's extraordinary how this Minhag has evolved over the years.
I've run some independent tests myself and I'll be happy to share them with you.
The absolute worst in terms of volume and the mess it leaves is definitely the party snappers.
The party snapper registers about 60 decibels which is slightly higher than a pin dropping in an empty room.
I felt really bad for my kids throwing them down so hard and not getting much result.

Just above that is the normal banging on the table or stomping of the feet...which registers about 70db.

Next, comes cap guns which is one step above a banging hand but leaves a smell that according to pre-megilla announcements makes old men woozy.

Coming in at 75db is vigorous banging on the table which is fine for 5-6 Hamans before blisters start appearing.

Until now I've been discussing noisemakers that fall into the category of universally accepted weaponry.
There's a whole new class of weapons that strikes fear into most congregants.
There was this family one table over to the right. I knew right away, we were in for trouble from the size of their bag and the way they were smuggling it into shul.
There was an old cranky man at the above mentioned table who I just knew would not be happy.

As the first Haman came into view I heard the crackling of plastic as all kinds of roadside bombs, WMDs and fog horns were being hastily assembled under the table. At about 10 seconds to launch they all hit the floor, hands over ears like an artillery unit on the battlefield. I cringed and prepared for impact. BOOOOM
When the smoke cleared I looked over at the poor old man expecting him to be irate.
Instead he had this bewildered, strange smile on his face.
It wasn't until the end of the Megilla that I noticed his hearing aid firmly embedded in the sheet rock 40 ft to his right.

Without a doubt, the king of noisemakers is the good old fashioned Gragger. Which makes loud and sustained noise without blisters or smoke.