This Friday, for the first time EVER, my Shabbat Table was actually set (thanks to my kids) before candle lighting!
Even more amazing, all the food was cooked and on the plata (hot plate) with time to spare!
OK, so I had help.
But still, everything was ready when we lit candles for Hanukah and Shabbat.
When my family (Moshe, the kids, my parents and my sister) gathered around our Shabbat Table, the atmosphere was calm and relaxed.
I wasn't feeling so well, so I lay down on the couch and listened to my family singing Shalom Aleichem (special song welcoming the Shabbat angels) and the other special Shabbat songs that we sing before our Shabbat meal. (it was so relaxing, I even fell asleep for a few minutes)
I awoke as my eldest daughter leaned over to receive her bracha (blessing). I gave brachot (blessings) to all of our children. Then, I (reluctantly) started the process of really getting up.
I was still lying down, wrapped warmly in my blanket, when the words "the plata isn't hot" penetrated my haze.
I could hear myself informing everyone: "We forgot to plug it in."
I could not believe it, even though I was the one stating the fact.
We had done everything.... except plug in the plata.
This was another "first" -- I never forgot that step before. (Usually, I am neurotic and check the "on-light" on the plata, after I plug it in, just to "make sure")
A few seconds of panic seemed to seize all the grown-ups.
Then, in my quiet haze, the solution was simple; no one would starve.
The food for the evening was piping hot; we would have plenty of hot food for dinner. And, for lunch, we would eat cold food. It would be fine.
It wasn't ideal, but no one complained.
Moshe made kiddush (the blessing over the wine); we washed (our hands); and I made hamotzi (the blessing over the bread).
As we were munching on the delicious whole wheat challot (special Shabbat loaves) that my sister brought, I had an epiphany: we could put the chullent (unique traditional stew that remains on the plata all night and is served for Shabbat lunch) on our neighbor's plata.
Moshe went down to make the request and our neighbor's graciously agreed.
We would have hot food for lunch, after all.
But it really didn't matter.
With my father, mother, sister, husband, son and daughters all around me, I didn't need hot food to feel warm inside.
Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.
With love and optimism,