Desperately Seeking Shabbat
Is it bad that I don’t remember the last time that I made a Shabbos dinner?
Prior to last night’s festive meal, I cannot recall the last Shabbat dinner that I made for my family.
But it’s not quite as pathetic as it sounds. You see, for the past five or six years, the kids and I have spent most Shabbos dinners with BubbeGiraffe and ZaydeGiraffe. Partially because it took a great burden off of my plate. To cook dinner and get ready for services in enough time for me to get on the freeway and get to shul is simply not so very doable. Additionally, how many kids have the opportunity to share Shabbat with their grandparents?
Now that I am, as BossGiraffe recently coined, an “Ima Off the Bima,” I have no
excuse reason not to make a proper Shabbos table for mein kinder.
Last week ought to have been my first go of it. Feeling blue at the prospect of my first Shabbat no longer on the pulpit, I couldn’t bring myself to prepare Shabbos at home. Instead, the kids and I went out for an early dinner, came home, did blessings, and went to sleep. I readily admit that it was not my preferred way to welcome Shabbat. I also knew that anything else would simply highlight a profound loss in my life.
Fast-forward to this week. A dear friend from Reform School, and his young daughter, were flying into town to visit family and asked to come for Shabbos. Perfect! Because things could not get any crazier with The Big Move rapidly approaching, having company makes a bunch of sense.
Sweet-and-Sour Chicken (super-simple recipe from PC’s mom, using Gold’s Cantonese Style Duck Sauce)
and a lovely Merlot
And, honestly, on Friday afternoon I was questioning my sanity in inviting them to dinner. PC had just arrived, we have scads of things to do, and I was just exhausted. The idea of pulling together a Shabbat dinner for the first time in ?????? seemed like a bad — very bad — idea.
Had I not taken on the obligation of providing a Shabbos meal for our friends, I might have put it off. Again. Shabbat would have been a hurried, obligatory act. Instead, we adults lingered over good food, and even better conversation, while the kids ran wild through the house. It was, I believe, the first time that I ever blessed our children while another parent was blessing his. I don’t know if my kids noticed, but I wanted them to notice. I wanted them to think, “oh, this is something that other families do on Shabbat.” That being blessed each week is a normal activity.
A blessing, as it turns out, in the shape of an invitation. Thank you, Holy One, for placing the opportunity in my path, and bringing some healing as I stumble to find my footing on this new path.