Festive visitors

This week, Shabbat is babysitting.

“I’m the youngest of seven,” she says, “and sometimes I miss all the activity of a full house.”

She’s pulled out all the stops, bringing in heaps of toys and candy to keep everyone happy. When her eight fiery-haired nephews come spilling in through the front door, Shabbat instantly shifts from the perfect hostess to “the cool aunt.” It doesn’t seem to bother her that she’s about to have a house full of rambunctious troublemakers all hyped up on sugar.

“Let them have their fun,” she says when the youngest splatters olive oil across the tablecloth and the rug. “I barely ever get to see them. I want to make sure they enjoy their visit.”



We greet Hanukkah first, before Shabbat arrives.

Each time a wick catches, we childishly pray
That its sputtering hope never dies.

Then a light to remember, another to guard, (’neath the beacon that helps light the way)
For the first night of miracles in ancient times,
In this season and maybe today.

Their murmuring beams seem like paltry replies
To the neighborhood’s green-red display,
But Shabbat owes its flame to the bright battle-cries
That protect its blue core, come what may.



“We built our clubhouse together, the two of us. I painted and found some old furniture and made it look nice, but I don’t know nothing about construction. If I had made it by myself, the roof would leak and there would still be holes in the walls near the ground.”

“Sure, I did the patching and the roofwork—but it would have been a pretty pathetic place to hang out without all your work to make it feel like home.”

“Oh—but don’t forget Mom and Dad! It was Dad who let us use his old shed and paid for new materials. Otherwise we wouldn’t have this place at all. And probably we won’t have worked so hard if Mom didn’t make snacks and always say what a good job we were doing.”

“So it was a team effort, huh? No one could have made this great clubhouse alone.”