Tag Archives: shabbat

She’s Baaaaaack!

I am back in Montreal, safe and sound after a phenomenal long weekend with the KoD. It still surprises me how much more in love with him I fall every time I see him. In two week’s time we will be celebrating a year of marriage. I remember so well on the day we pledged our foreverness to each other, that I loved him with every ounce of my being. I had no clue at that time how much more that love would grow and be nurtured. I had no idea that a year in, I would still get lost in his eyes and feel weak at the knees every time he looked at me.

The drive down with Empress CaresALot and her kids was uneventful and fun, and having company on this drive really relieved my usual six hour boredom. On the drive back her son definitely deserved the honour of being called the Other Prince ChatterBox. Bless his cotton socks. How many times did he recite Green Eggs and Ham from memory, oh lady Empress?

The weekend itself was a blur of activity – the time passed by so quickly that I am not even sure where it went. Every time I go down we do a lot to get the house as ready as possible for us, so that when the BIG MOVE finally happens (may it be soon, amen) there will be as little as possible to do and we can concentrate fully on settling the kids.

We visited Bed Bath and Beyond (twice – I am so in love) and Home Depot, and my absolute favourite store in the whole world – Shop Rite. I am sure there will come a time that it will become just the grocery store to me, but I am still amazed at the array of products that one can buy there that are kosher. I even got to check out the DMV – I was surprised that they had contemporary pop music playing in the background. Doesn’t happen up here. I ran to the library to get some good reading material for Shabbat, and I ran some errands for the KoD while he got some work done.

We had awesome Shabbat meals at different friends – the people in KoD’s community has opened their hearts and houses to us, and always welcome us so warmly. We are truly blessed to be part of this big Jewish family. There were so many people I had wanted to visit and spend time with, but due to the cold weather and the sheer busy-ness it just didn’t come to happen. There is always next time, right?

I am now “home” – though somehow, home is where the heart is, and a big huge chunk of mine is in NY with my KoD, but another big huge chunk is here waiting for my kiddliwinks to come home after their weekend with their dad. I cannot wait until these huge chunks are reunited forever.

I am off to unpack and unwind. (and to inspect my ears and compare them to the passport pic….)

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Lack of Motivation

I got up this morning, put the coffee on, took the chicken and cholent meat and bones out of the freezer to defrost. That’s all I have done. I have absolutely no motivation to cook for Shabbat. None whatsoever. I just want to crawl back into my bed and get another few hours of sleep, few days really, until it’s time to wake up and drive to see the KoD again.

Shabbat without the KoD is like having brownies without the chocolate. Just so plain… I love spending the time with the kids. I do. And Friday night we always end up having a great time, I go to bed early and sleep 12 hours…but there is something missing. Lighting my candles without KoD here Friday night always brings me to tears. And just knowing that we have at least a couple more months of this is like a leaden weight on my heart today.

My get up and go seems to have got up and went….without me. I think I will just make the soup and cholent and buy in the rest. Spend my time today cleaning and getting rid of this aggression– I guess we are all entitled to our off days.

Sorry to be such a downer. Hopefully the Sabbath Queen will bring me a better frame of mind. See that’s the problem with always being so positive – bad moods knock you sideways.

Off to wallow…..

ETA (12.12 pm) I forced myself to get busy in the kitchen and have baked and cooked and feel tons better. I just had a hard time getting focussed! Thank you for the support. Oh, gotta go, cinnamon and chocolate babkas have to come out of the oven.

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How Many Candles?

How many Shabbat candles do you light? I light nine. When I was first married I only lit two, the minimum, in honour of Shabbat. As each child was born I added a candle as was the family custom. So by the time my first marriage ended I lit six candles every Friday night.

Soon after I was looking to do something symbolic to help me look to the future. I decided to start lighting three more candles every Friday night – one for Briut (health), one for Parnassah (livelihood) and another for Shalom (peace). I have a pretty candelabra with nine branches – and every time I light my Shabbat candles I am suffused with warmth and peace. When I light my candles I daven for people near and dear to me.

God works in mysterious ways. There are now nine people in our family. Me and the KoD, and our seven accumulated children. If all of these children had been born to me I would now be lighting nine candles.

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Just a short kvell

My boys are the bestest. They truly are. With me being the only parent in the house, and being so sick that I have barely left my bed in days, they stepped up to the plate. On Friday the bathrooms were scrubbed, the kitchen cleaned, laundry was done, errands were run, the Shabbat table set, the candlesticks prepared, bedrooms tidied, the mail retrieved… the list goes on. All four of them worked really hard to make a nice Shabbat.

My boys worked so hard, and I am so proud. Lenny actually said to me just before Shabbat – Ima, I am so tired, now I understand why you are exhausted before Shabbat comes in, and there were 3 other people helping me. You do it all alone. Good lesson to learn I think.

BH we had awesome friends who cooked for us and we are truly grateful. We could taste the love and affection in their yummy food. Thank you friends. You know who you are.

BH I am starting ever so slightly to feel better. Have been nagged at worried about by people near and far, and warned not to overdo even when I do start to feel better. I am trying, but I am so stubborn and really want to get everything done my way. But this infection was a wake up call to slow down and relax a little bit.

Must have been awful for my KoD being so far away and unable to do much for us except worry. Honey – just knowing you are sending me your love and warm fuzzies from 333 miles away helps. You know that. Sorry I was so teary on the phone before. Sometimes I can be a little emotional!! (shocking, I know)

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Judge not lest ye shall be judged

I try so hard to not judge people based on looks. We each have our own personal biases, obviously, but judging a book by its cover doesn’t really work. The most beautiful person could be really vacuous, and the most ugly person the smartest person in the world. Character is more than brains, but you get my point.

I frequent a local Jewish food establishment. I have noticed, much to my chagrin, that I get treated differently based on how I am dressed. When I walk in there with my sheitel on, long skirt and closed shoes I get excellent service, and when it’s Friday I get wished a Shabbat Shalom / Good Shabbes. When I walk in there as I did today in a bandanna which didn’t cover all my hair (shonda, I know…puhleeze), and flip flops, long gypsy skirt and long sleeved tee – the same person looked me up and down whilst serving me and seemed to decide I was not worthy of anything more than a shrug and a look that made me want to throw up.

Now before you all blast me and tell me the guy was having a bad day, it has happened many times with the same person, so much so that I started keeping track. Only religious looking women are entitled to good service? The more modern amongst us are nothing? I wished the guy a good shabbes (I usually say Shabbat Shalom) and he looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language. What, a modernishe veibe (modern wife) such as me actually can speak the litvish lingo?? Deplorable, unthinkable, unheard of….

I left the establishment with such a sour taste in my mouth. It’s a shame. There is another gentleman who works there who always has a smile for me, no matter how I am dressed. I love when he serves me – there is banter, back and forth. This other dude, if I showed up in cleavage baring shirt and low rise jeans – I wonder what type of service I would get, if any. Hmm, might need to test my hypothesis. Interestingly enough the two men are from different sectors of the Jewish community. I wonder if this has any bearing on the matter at hand.

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Ethical question

This question always comes up when you are planning a simcha on Shabbat. Can you invite a guest to join in your simcha when you KNOW s/he will be mechallel Shabbat (break the laws of Shabbat) to get there? I am sure there are fixes – offer them a place to stay near location of event, even if they refuse, you are yoitzer – is this true?

How have YOU addressed this issue in the past?

Disclaimer – for any halachic questions please contact your local rabbi – I am not a halachic authority…

Taxi Drivers! kashrut vs shabbat


So I had an appointment today and hopped in a cab there and back. My driver on the way back was an Israeli dude of about 60. I was wearing kisui rosh (haircovering) long skirt – the whole 9 yards of being frummi woman. So he could tell I was MOT! (member of the tribe)


We started talking about pesach, and all the preparations. He told me he isn’t religious, but enjoys the holidays when he can get time off from driving his cab.


What is it with cab drivers and philosophical discussions?! He wanted to know what mitzvah I thought was more important – being shomer Shabbat or shomer Kashrut. I told him it’s difficult to compare and contrast the two, because they are both fundamental parts of being a religious Jew.


Here I was in a cab, getting a lecture from a secular Jew. He says, in the 10 commandments it says Zachor et yom Hashabbat Lekadsho – Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. In cab drivers opinion, because it doesn’t say Shmor (keep) et yom Hashabbat – its not as important as Kashrut. Obviously he didn’t give me a source for why kashrut in his opinion is more important. But he felt it is.


He also felt that the reason there is so much evil in the world is that the Jews are not living in Israel. We cannot, according to him, say we are living in the Golah, because we have Israel now. We are transgressing G-ds laws by living in Chutz LaAretz, outside of Israel. Interesting point coming from Israeli who makes his life in Canada, dontcha think?


So, fellow MOTs – lets have your opinion on the subject – what’s more important? Shabbat or Kashrut? Or Taharat Hamishpacha? OR are all 3 are of equal importance? Is there something more important than those?

Weekend Wonders – Part Two

Read part one here.


I like to sleep in on a Shabbat morning (gee, me and sleep, that seems to be a theme of these latest blogs, maybe I need to get me more of that…..), and my boys know this. On a regular Shabbat they don’t wake me before 830. Ok, I should really say they don’t officially wake me before 830, but little kids who try real hard to whisper – well, they are very loud! But the denial that comes from pretending to be asleep is worthwhile so we perpetuate it.


I like to sleep in but seeing as we had company my lie-in didn’t happen. I heard whispering coming from the kitchen at 7 am, and was greeted with goofy smiles by a selection of male children, happily tucking in to Trix, imported from the states by a wonderful man that I happen to know.


Prince Pigeon was dressed and out of the house by 830 as he wanted to go and wake up his future stepdaddy to ensure he was on time for shul. So down the hill he slid to fulfill his mission. The whole city was covered in ice, something I might have actually known if I had looked out the window before we left for shul.


See, sleeping in until 830 on Shabbat – I have my whole timetable, I loll around with a coffee until 915 ish, get the boys dressed and out to shul, then by 10 I am dressed and out the house. Getting up at 7 am screwed up my whole fixed schedule, and we all ended up leaving for shul at 930. Way too early. However it took us a long time to get there, as there was ice around, and Hadassah was wearing four inch stiletto heeled boots (but they are soooo cute).


Because we were there so early I got to get a lot of davenning in. This year on Rosh Hashannah I davened really really hard, and it seems that Hashem didn’t just hear my prayers He actually decided that this was the year he was going to listen to them, and he sent me my KoD. So I kinda feel that I should daven as much as possible to show my appreciation for all that He has done and continues to do for us.


I had the zchut to be there when KoD was called up to the Torah, and to hear him have them make a misheberach for me and my family in addition to his.


The trek home from shul was hazardous, even for those of us who had been smart and worn decent boots. A couple of the kids had the “invincible” feeling – that nothing will happen to them if they deliberately go sliding on the ice – a couple of sore bums later, they still hadn’t learned their lesson!


The rest of Shabbat passed in a blur of food, more food and plenty of games and much merriment. It was so great to see the kids all getting along – and yes, the occasional “fight” – verbal – broke out, which I know is normal. When one of my princes said to one of the Diamond princesses – if you do that again I will thump you – well, I figured the sibling bond had been well and truly welded!! (no thumpage ensued as they know it would not be tolerated).


Throughout the whole weekend KoD and I had a lot of fun ‘grossing’ the kids out. Because we love each other we tend to stare at each other with goofy grins occasionally, and sometimes we hold each others gaze longer than usual. Our souls communicate through our eyes. Interestingly enough, the girls like to see us staring into each others eyes. The boys – not so much. Princess Sparkles told us that when we kiss each other that will make us married, and if we never kiss then we will never be married. Princess Starlight wondered aloud if we are in love, and told her Abba that she had never seen him so happy. That was a great and awesome moment.


Now, on Shabbat afternoon we wanted to have some time to talk to each other without interference from the little people. They were all playing in various spots all over the house, so we were able to start our conversation a few times. Until such a time as a few of the princes and princesses decided it would be fun to spy on us – picture some little cutie crawling slowly commando style behind the sofa so that we wouldn’t realize they were there – their giggly breathing would never have given them away, nu uh!!! Once we realized they were listening in, we started doing what I call the shmoopy shmoopy talk. “I love how cute your face is, I love how your nose wrinkles when you smile at me, I love how your eyebrows frame your gorgeous eyes, I will love you more everyday, I love you more than you love me, etc…” – after a while they ran away making vomit sounds, and every time they snuck back, we started up again. I think eventually they got the idea. We had so much fun with that!


However much the boys were totally disgusterated with the lovey dovey stuff I think they really enjoy seeing their Ima happy and in love. The fact that they totally adore KoD is an additional bonus. In shul they were so proud to introduce him to their rabbis and friends as their future stepdad.


We made havdalah and lit the Chanukah candles, it was so nice to all be together, singing maoz tsur as a family. We settled the kids in front of a movie, and moved to the kitchen so that we could clean up from the detritus of Shabbat – a few sinksful of dishes. My man, my harley riding manly man, insisted on washing the dishes. He wouldn’t allow me to do them, not a one. My dainty rubber gloves sat well on his big strong hands – and he obviously has had practice with dishes, because he did a great job. In fact, KoD – seeing as you did such a wonderful job washing my dishes you can wash my dishes anytime – and keep me company in the kitchen, you are good at that too. What amazing new talent of yours am I going to discover next, my love? That you know how to fold a fitted sheet in the right way? If you do, well, then yes, I will definitely marry you!!


It was so great to be in the kitchen doing mundane stuff together, and hearing the kids laughing and giggling at the movies they were watching (and not fighting, nor inserting fingers into ears or nasal cavities of a sibling).


Again, Saturday night they gave us no trouble going to bed – I think the idea is to get them so tired out that they just fall in to bed and conk out for 8 hours or so. I wish I could sleep like the young people do.


Vayehee Erev Veyehee Voker Yom Shenee…..to be continued…..


read part three here.


Message from the Royal Scribe

Hear ye!!! Hear ye!!! Her Majesty the Queen of Hearts has asked me to inform you that my duties have been dispensed with for the next few days as the Queen is way too occupied to need my services. Her King of Diamonds is bringing his royal court up to spend Shabbat with the Queen’s court, so the Queen has much menu planning and kitchen supervising to be done. She must also oversee the housekeeping and make sure the royal laundry has been kept up to date. Her princes have been banished to their quarters to make sure their jousting equipment is safely stored. The Queen must also ensure that the accommodations for her King are satisfactory, in keeping with a man of his station in life.


The Queen must also take time to rest herself so that her appearance will continue to please the eye of her King, and that she may have energy to enjoy all the attentions of the King, princes and princesses. Court business is very draining, and entertaining is part of said business. Our Queen loves the entertainment and pageantry and is much looking forward to the pomp and circumstance that will surround the King’s visit.


The grocery shopping has been supervised, the dairy and meat pantries well stocked, and plenty of tasty treats have been planned for the young princes and princesses. Horses have been fed and watered so that a tour of the environs of our royal city can be taken. As I write, the peasants are stomping the grapes so that our Queen may have the royal vintage at her Shabbat table for her King to make kiddush on. One hears the pounding of fists as the challah dough is being kneaded by the local bakers. Vegetables are being plucked from the ground for the Queen’s favourite chicken soup made with her very own top secret recipe, matzah being ground so that Cook can make extra special fluffy matzah balls as an accompaniment for the soup. The ritual slaughterer is chasing chickens in the courtyard, and the fatted calf is being prepared in the meat kitchen.


I am sure there are many more delectable mouthwatering dishes that will be served, but I must return to my little village, to my simple life, until such a time as the Queen needs my services. (I hope there will be some leftovers for me……)


Your Humble Servant

The Royal Scribe

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I have written before about the positive impact I feel my community has had on my life. I continue to be amazed and inspired by these wonderful people around me.


This Shabbat I was alone, my kids were spending time with their other parent. I went to shul, and when shul was over I started walking home, uphill, in the rain, planning to eat a quick solitary meal and go take a long Shabbat afternoon nap, possibly helped by a shot or two of Glenfiddich. I bumped into a friend who was on her way to friends for lunch. She asked me where I was headed and why were the boys not with me. She insisted she bring me along to the friends house for lunch. I felt a little weird, not wanting to impose without an invitation, but I knew these people and I knew it would not be a problem.


So we trudged back down the hill in the pouring rain and showed up famished and starving – for more than food, for warmth and friendship too. They were so pleased that I came, thrilled that their guest felt comfortable enough to bring another guest. This family really embodies Hachnassat Orchim – welcoming of the guests. There were a lot of us around the table, and the conversation was lively and stimulating. The food was excellent too. I was made to feel so welcome, that I forgot I imposed myself.


It was so much better to join in this meal that to sit at home alone, even though I don’t mind my own company. I even got to sample some other single malts that I don’t stock at home. I still like Glenfiddich the best. When I left their house I had a warm glow about me – and it wasn’t the whiskey. I truly feel blessed that I know such kind hearted people. People who do mitzvoth because they want to, because they feel closer to G-d. I still feel all warm and fuzzy – it’s a great place to be. Life is so good, I am so appreciative of all that I have.


Shavuah Tov everyone, may this week be a wonderful week for all of us.