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June 16, 2014


You mentioned being super tired at the end of the week, and I wanted to suggest that I think that's totally normal and to be expected from someone who's working full time and also keeping a house. If you need to go to bed at 8pm, do so.

And even more if you're helping D with basics since her shoulder is still recuperating!

Be kind to yourself, WN.

The husbands in those shtetl families presumably came home tired from doing outside work and got to sit down to a meal prepared by someone else; you don't need to exemplify both roles. If getting take-out helps create the relaxed, celebratory atmosphere that you want, why not make that a Shabbat tradition?

What Now!

As I've been slowly getting back into reading fabulous blogs like yours, I've seen all these Jewish books on your blog and wondered how on earth Google knows me so well -- and it's totally not google! It's you! I can't wait to read through your Judaism-related archives and how you came to this exploration.

Regarding shabbat: maybe I'm a bad Jew (maybe?!), but I think the spirit and feeling of it (kavanah) is more important than the details, especially as a working woman. There is no way that I can have a nice relaxing joyous Shabbat if I'm running around trying to make everything just so. (I tend to think that the preoccupation with "just so" is profoundly anti-kavanah, though I admit the counter-arguments have merit also.) So we've had take-out (sometimes pork even!) as a tradition at Absurdist Household for a long time. When I can manage it, candles. Wine. A good uplifting movie. What's more Shabbat-like than that?

I do think that meal preparation will be much easier when D. can lift more than one pound with her right (dominant) hand! She has always been the one to do most of the cooking, which is one reason the last three months have been so very difficult.

But I also really like the idea of our saying that take-out is the norm on Friday nights, because that way we're both more relaxed. Basically we both want to be the shtetl husband!

And EE, welcome back! I'm going to go catch up on your blog right now!

I think it's both / and. My own experiences with my first celebrations of Shabbat were that I often slammed into the day. Nothing "ready," just the command to remember the sabbath. That's okay. It doesn't have to be perfect every time and it's not supposed to make you crazy. OTOH, one thing I learned from taking Shabbat seriously was that my life in the way I lived it was unsustainable and that while I couldn't change everything about it there were some things I could change.

I became friends with some rabbinical students when I did CPE; they are Conservative Jews and keep kosher. One way they handle the Shabbat is large shared dinners Then not every house has to be cleaned every week. Although I know for us introverts that might be difficult too at the end of a long week.

So I commented on the last post first and then went backwards reading comments... I also should say about Sabbath (though i can't seem to move my family toward this) that the argument I've heard, admittedly in Christian circles, for keeping it well is that by abiding by the no-work rules you organize ALL the rest of your life around this one thing which points you back toward God as the first thing in your life. We don't succeed at it but it resonates with me....I do organize my life to allow sunday worship but that seems more trivial somehow. I do love/my family does take out on Friday nights because cooking always just seems too onerous at the end of the work week.

By the way - if you DO read Exodus, read several other books by Uris because he actually writes the same story from multiple perspectives and some of the other books were more interesting from a historical thoughts whatever...

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Who is this What Now?

  • I'm an English teacher at Fabulous Girls' School (FGS). I'm a convert to Judaism. I am partner to D. We live in an adorable, messy little house in Adventure City. Two cats -- the Muse and the Contemplative -- live with us and keep life at home plenty adventurous.

    Email me at whatnowblogger at yahoo dot com.

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