New baby

They haven’t been the same since Shabbat joined their family. They never go out anymore. We only see them when they invite their old friends over, in twos or threes, for sedate home-cooked meals.

We come and we walk on eggshells, terrified of somehow upsetting this demanding, easily displeased presence. Shabbat doesn’t even have to be in the room to be the center of attention. Shabbat has turned their lives upside-down.

After dinner, he walked me to my car and I asked him how he handled all these new restrictions and responsibilities. “It’s hard,” he admitted. “And nothing will ever be how it used to be. But I don’t think I can explain to you how—how worth it it all is. How empty the old days seem now. But who knows? Maybe it’ll happen to you some day. Then you’ll understand.”

Not likely. I said goodbye and left.


Ritual helps but isn’t necessary

She came without candles, she came without wine.
All she needed was quiet, a chance to unwind.
No blessings were uttered, but time ticked along,
Past gloaming and sunset, to twilight then dawn.

And she’ll leave without spices, when the hour’s passed away.
She’ll slip out like clockwork; don’t ask her to stay.
She’ll come again next week, a fresh new Shabbat.
To rest on your home, invited or not.