Is it even meant to return to normal — or is this supposed to be leading us somewhere else?
It looks exactly like the Shabbos after Purim. A blue bottle of Bartenura sits on one end of the table, and colorful taffies and Zillions on the other end, next to their respective consumers.
I cannot control the intake of candy because the colorful packages spill everywhere; the sweets are in bags, boxes, or spread out on the floor as the children haggle and trade. It’s okay, in a few days I will place a ban on nosh. For now, it’s keeping them busy.
But it doesn’t totally feel like the Shabbos after Purim. It feels like we are suspended somewhere in time, unable to imagine Pesach being less than months away, struggling to fill our minds with the usual post-Purim thoughts and calculations. Instead, other thoughts race through my head:
Will we have food for Pesach?
Will I have tissues next week?
Will my cleaning lady come? Do I even want her to come?
How will I stay sane with the kids home from school?
How will we stay safe?
Which country is taking the best approach?
What is going on??! Will life ever return to normal?
Is it even meant to return to normal — or is this supposed to be leading us somewhere else, somewhere new, and much, much better than we can ever imagine?
The candles flicker, and we sit in its glow. The peacefulness of Shabbos is profound, more so this week as we take respite in the tranquility after the incessant noise and hysteria in the streets.
It feels good to sit normally around a table, to eat and schmooze with our family, not feeling paranoid about accidental contact or transmission of germs. (Yes, we’re washing our hands well.) And it feels so, so good to hear the words of our Shabbos zemiros. They ring truer than ever, as the news provides little in the way of solace or security.
Ant Hu Malkah Melech Malchaya…
My kids ask me what’s for dessert. Nosh from a platter that came on Purim, I tell them, and please don’t stick your fingers in, I’ll give you. It’s late, it’s time to bentsh.
But no one is in a rush. There’s no dash to the couch and ensuing fight over reading material, no rush to continue “doing business” with mishloach manos loot. We’re staying put, drinking in the magic of Shabbos, filling our parched souls with its life-giving waters.
We start to sing. Ani maamin. Slow, meaningful. Hu borei u’manhig… v’Hu levado asah.
Then we go on to Ein od milvado. Si’z doch altz hevel havolim. Everything, everything is nothing. It’s only Hashem.
Next we sing Bnei beischa. Isn’t that what we want, far more than a return to normal routine and our stores well-stocked once again?
We sing and sing, like Shalosh Seudos in camp.
We finally bentsh, and our kids go to sleep. I know something inside them has settled.
In the late Friday night silence, I pull out my Rosh Hashanah machzor. The word “corona” has been buzzing in my head, and phrases of rich Artscroll English dance in my brain.
Iniquity will close its mouth…. A man’s origin is from dust and his destiny is back to dust… and preparation of a lamp for Jesse… it shall be a day of shofar-sounding.
I’m looking for the corona of splendor piece. I know somewhere, in the over 700 pages, it says corona of splendor, and I need to see that word in its context right now.
Was it in Kedushah? Nope.
I flip back, forth, and then I find it. It’s in mussaf, chazaras hashatz, in v’yeesayu.
Then all shall come to serve you…People that knew You not will seek You out…they will reject their idols… they will recognize the power of Your sovereignty…. In Your presence they will pray with trepidation and crown You with a corona of splendor…
I hold the machzor close, feel it flooding me with an assurance, a reminder I so badly needed to hear.
Times are scary, yes. But somehow, somehow, I sense that they are bringing us closer to where we really want to be.
And there is nothing more comforting than that.
(Originally Featured Family First, Issue 685)
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