Wednesday, August 3, 2011


We were expected at 1130 and we arrived at 1400.  The home of Shmuel and Orit was fairly crackling with anticipation and eagerness for the arrival of Ari and his entourage.  We were first welcomed by their beautiful children of varying heights, ages nineteen to three years old, some huddling in the hallway to receive us with their faces wreathed in winsome smiles. Heavens, I thought, the Sun herself must have come down from its orbital perch to blush their countenances with its glow!  I was so overwhelmed by their beauty and warmth that I unconsciously extended my hand to everyone and each shook it keenly except for the boys.  One of them, possibly age six or seven, who already displayed leadership qualities said, "I am not to do so."  Oh!  Then I understood - males of any age are not supposed to touch a female of any age except for their mothers; not sure with siblings though. The boys wore kippas. The girls wore attractive clothes, still observing the dress code of modesty which each interpreted according to her taste and the result was a study in fashion-a-la-Vogue.  It was quite apparent that these children, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, did not want for anything.  They are happy and healthy, enjoying life in a secure world made robust and stable by the love of their parents for each other and for them.  True love between a man and a woman can be detected a mile away,  even a whiff of it can be leavening to the soul, and that evening I was certainly basking in the inevitable fertile harvests of that love.  I was speechless in my contentment as I take it all in - their devotion to God; their complimentarity and fidelity to each other; their adorable brood of twelve children with given names approved by the rabbi; their well-loved Memere; their friends; their postmodern home with a beautiful view of the city; their elegantly-set table abundant with scrumptious, multi-course Shabbat meal which was a wealthy man's feast Orit prepared from scratch; the fellowship that followed; the restful siesta they offered anyone who needed one; watching the young ones play their respective games while the breeze blew gently across their generous deck; and then, during the sentimental hour of a Chareidi sunset,  a lovely, lovely meal called Havdalah.  At Havdalah, we prayed good-bye to the previous week and prayed hello to the upcoming week.  I could still smell the citrusy herb chosen for that evening.  As if all these bountiful gifts were not enough, Shmuel gave us a lift home in his van so we did not have to walk the way we came this afternoon.  It certainly was an unforgettable Shabbat.