shabbat is over and it is now 9:30 p.m. in the holy city of zefat. i was alone today as i was too tired to walk over to visit my sister. the kids went to gal's family for shabbat. the family brings in the shabbat early. they eat around 6:30 p.m. where as we usually start at 8:40 p.m.
at 6:00 p:m i was all dressed and ready to join them but zvi asked me to wait here for my cousins, who were coming to zefat. he had brought two bottles of wine from work for them and wanted me to present them. i was not in the mood to be alone this weekend. i sometimes relish it but not yesterday. i was definately feeling sociable and wanted to get out. perhaps, it were the dozen or more ice coffees that i had scoffed down, who knows?
i waited for a while and realized that it would be too late to join the sephardi family so i called my sister to say that i'd love to join them. they were all excited that i was coming. it's been ages since i went there on a shabbat night. i lit candles at 7:30 p.m and finally left my house at 8:15 p.m. as there was no sign of my cousins coming.
i got to my sister's after 9:00 p.m. but noone was there yet. one niece was in the bedroom sleeping and my other niece, husband, and baby were also at home resting. my brother-in-law was suffering with a toothe ache and had taken a remedy and was ready to call it a night. he couldn't believe that i had shlepped out on such a hot night. he said that i should sleep over.
everyone came into the dining area at 9:45 p.m. for kiddush. we are usually winding down the meal at that hour. the two invited guests from the local keruv center hadn't shown up so we started the meal. at 10:00 p.m. there was a knock at the door. the guests finally arrived and we all scurried about and made places for them. one of the guests happened to mention that his two favorite places in the world were zefat and new delhi, india. what an amazing "coincidence" considering that my niece and nephew ran the chabad house in delhi and are planning on returning, shortly.
the other guest was learning some type of physical fitness technique that he went on about for far too long. he was only 25, so i gave him a lot of attention. my brother-in-law passed out on the couch and we went on without him. that was some remedy! we entertained the guests til around 1:00 a.m. and then i got up to go home. my niece, kindly invited me to stay at her apartment for the night but i needed to get home. i had worn my wig and couldn't think about wearing it again in the morning. i wanted to be home for the dogs and i also wanted a change of clothes.
i made my way home rather slowly as my shoes were not the best for walking distances. surprisingly, there were loads of people outside at that hour. i got back at 1:40 a.m. and read a bit and passed out on the couch. i woke up and couldn't move. my back and feet were aching and i was too tired to do my morning prayers. i only had one coffee and went back to bed. i finally got up and davened at 2:00 p.m. and had a meal of tuna steak and chumus. i had a whole wheat roll and some nuts, cheese and yogurt for dessert.
i finally went back to bed and fell asleep at around 5:00 p.m. i gave up on going to visit the sephardi family for third meal. a short while later, i heard a knock on the door. it was my cousin checking to see if anyone was home. i invited him in but he was hesitant to bring in the entire bunch because they had travelled on the sabbath. they didn't want to offend but they definately, wanted to say hi. we rarely see each other except for once every couple of years. they usually show up without any prewarning and never stay to have a meal.
i invited them to join me downstairs in the garden for a cold drink. i quickly brought down glasses, drinks, cookies and grapes. it was shady and breezy and very beautiful. i didn't bring down the watermelon, icecream, and nuts and dried fruits that i had bought for the occassion. they seemed in a hurry to get going. it was nice to connect with them even though it was on shabbat. i walked them out and wished them a safe journey. i then began to feel guilty. i thought about how i should have tried to detain them or implore them to stay until shabbat ended. on the other hand, i thought that it's not my job. i was welcoming and non-judgemental and perhaps that will count in the long run.