Saturday, March 12, 2011

Double portion

So, it's been two days and you're probably all thinking that I had fallen off the edge of the earth...or finally stopped writing long enough to take care of the laundry.  It was a little of both, really.

Everyone likes to help...
When the young nation of Israel wandered the desert, they were given a portion of manna each day.  Just enough for that one day.  The only exception to this was Friday.  Since on Shabbat, no malacha (certain types of creative work; different from avoda which is the kind of work you do to make a living) could be done, a double portion of manna would fall on Friday and Moshe Rabeinu (Moses, our teacher) told us to do all of our cooking ahead of time (Exodus 16:23).  So in honor of Shabbat, we have a double portion of food, but the day before we get a double portion of work.  Still worth it, I think.

...with preparing for Shabbat
We were invited to have Shabbat lunch with a Yemenite family of eight.  They were so warm and hospitable that Teneya refers to each of their four daughters, aged seven to nineteen, as "my friend."  We feasted on a rich chicken soup with kubane, a fluffy yet spongy bread that is cooked in a pot, torn into pieces and dropped into the broth, fresh vegetables and nuts for snacking, and the infamous hilba.  It's a paste made from fenugreek, garlic and cilantro.  Why infamous?  Because no deodorant known to man can compete with the fragrance that you will sweat after consuming it.  I passed on the bitter green delicacy but enjoyed half a glass of wine that my host had made himself.

Shabbat sort of is like falling off the edge of the earth.  Completely unplugged and detached from the daily business of life.  For a workaholic like me, it can be hard sometimes to let go and let G-d run the world for an entire day without my help.