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A Quiet Shabbos 

              My daughter is still in a state of disbelief. “So you really want a quiet Shabbos — just the two of you?”

“Mom, what’s doing this Shabbos?” my daughter asks me over the phone.

“We’re having a quiet one,” I reply.

“Oh. Who’s coming?”

“No one.”

“What do you mean no one? What will you do?”

“Oh, we’ll eat, sleep, daven, go to shul. I’ll be able to sing zemiros with Abba because there will be no sons-in-law there. Maybe I’ll buy a magazine and actually have a chance to read it.”

“Yes, but you don’t want to be completely on your own, do you?”

“Why not?” I respond. “We need to rest, relax, unwind. You know. Baruch Hashem we’ve had an aufruf together, a wedding, a family sheva brachos, a Shabbos sheva brachos, even a Chanukah family get together. It’s not like we haven’t seen any of you for months… sometimes we need to just relax.”

“Maybe you want some of the boys to come over, just to keep you company?” my daughter suggests. “They’ve been talking for a while about having a cousins Shabbos at Bubby and Zeidy’s house. I’ll send my Shlomo, and Miri can send her David, and Bracha can send her Aharon, and….”

“No. Thank you. Not this week. Maybe another week, with pleasure.”

“Okay, maybe not the boys. They can get a bit noisy, and they don’t help that much. How about some girls? My Shiri and Miri’s Beila and Bracha’s Leah. They’re very helpful and girls are quieter….”

“No thank you. We’re going to have a quiet Shabbos. Just the two of us. Don’t worry, we’ll get through 25 hours of our own company. We’ve been together for 50 years, baruch Hashem, so I think you can trust us to manage a day together without any other company,” I reassure her.

“What are you going to cook? How will you cook for just two of you?”

“Funny you should ask. I was just thinking how I could make the apple crumble just how Abba and I like it, with raisins and almond slices, without having to worry about Yoni who doesn’t eat raisins and Chezky who hates almonds, not to mention your Moshe who prefers the crumble to the apples and likes it with lots of crumbs. And I’ll be able to make sweet and sour chicken and no one will pull a funny face and say, ‘I only eat it the way my Ima makes it.’

“I love you all to pieces and I’m happy to cook the way each one wants and to make your favorites. I even have a list of each family’s preferences/loves/hates/never-touches, but occasionally it’s nice to cook just what we like and the way we like it.”

“Don’t you want someone else to talk to?” my daughter asks.

“No, Abba and I have been talking to each other for 50 years, sometimes even above a cacophony of our own crying babies/toddlers’ fights/teenage quarrels/giggly teenage girls’ secret phone calls/very loud music and even crying grandchildren…. It’s nice to be able to hear each other, and it’s even nice to sit in happy silence sometimes.”

My daughter is still in a state of disbelief. “So you really want a quiet Shabbos — just the two of you?”


“You don’t even want one of us who lives nearby to come for a meal?”

“Not this week. Next Shabbos, b’ezras Hashem, we’ll be back to having a full house.”

“Okay,” my daughter finally concedes. “But can we come and visit for a bit in the afternoon? We won’t stay long.”

I sigh. “Yes, of course you can. You know it’s not that we don’t love you….”


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 881)

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