Shabbat was tough.
On Friday morning, I realized I was just not ok. One of the women, who organize the local Chessed ("acts of kindness") group, happened to call me on Friday. When she heard my voice, she immediately asked if she could organize meals for us. It was already mid-morning on a Friday, when Shabbat comes in so early!
I hesitated. I would not have dared to call and ask for this. But here she was.... offering it!!
"Is it really a possibility?" I asked, giving her a chance to rethink her offer.
She assured me that it would be no problem.
I knew I should accept. I did not feel well, my energy was still low, Moshe and my son were still sick (and, therefore, useless as far as Shabbat preparations go), my youngest was as school and would likely be tired when she got home (not yet being fully recovered), the house was a disaster, and there would only be so much I could ask of my eldest, the only really healthy person in the house.
I did a quick mental calculation: I already had two raw chickens in my refrigerator.....
It would be difficult for someone to make us soup, especially in the quantities that we eat it on Shabbat.
"OK," I agreed, but I will make chicken and soup.
What a bracha (blessing), not having to worry about anything else!!
I went to lie down to rest for a few minutes, to gather my strength.
My eldest, God bless her, came home and went straight to work, tidying up what she could.
I had thought she might be willing to make the soup and chicken, with a bit of guidance. I was wrong. She was repulsed at the thought of touching dead chickens. I could not blame her.
I was her age, when I decided that if the thought of touching dead chickens so repulsed me then I should not eat them. My mother objected to my vegetarian inclinations, but soon after, I became a vegetarian, the way only Jews can be vegetarians ("What? That potato touched a piece of chicken? I cannot eat it now!") Who else in the world refuses to eat vegetables just because they touch a piece of meat?!
Clearly, I was not going to traumatize my own daughter by insisting that she make chicken soup!
Then, my youngest, God bless her too, volunteered to make it! She was so positive and enthusiastic! But I felt she was still a bit young to do it on her own.
"Come," I invited, "I will show you how, so you can do it next time."
It was fun cooking with her. I was not in my best form, but she had such a positive attitude that I was able to keep going.
When we finished, I still had the daunting task of cleaning off our Shabbat Table -- we had not eaten at the Shabbat Table since Yom Kippur, so it had become quite a repository of... everything, from important medical documents to junk mail!
Cleaning the Shabbat Table is the bane of my existence.
Once that was done, I was able to rest until the table was set and we were ready to eat.
I managed to stay at the table for most of the meal, even though I was finished (in all senses of the word) after the soup.
When I went to lie down, it was still early, but I had to lie down. I was sorry to leave my family, who were in a lively discussion about parshat hashavua (the weekly Torah portion).
When my son left the table, I invited him to come, sit with me and keep me company. About twenty minutes later, my eldest daughter joined us. Eventually, my youngest joined us as well.
It's been a long time since we all lounged around in my bed, joking and hanging out.
At one point, Moshe, who must have wondered what happened to all the kids, wandered in. "So, this is where everybody is hiding!" he said, bemused.
It was one of those precious moments that you want to engrave in your memory!
Shabbat day was pretty slow moving. But it was also filled with good family moments.
Oh yeah, and LOTS of sleep!!
Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.
With love and optimism,