Shabbat Recap — Dancing and Walking

I had a really good Shabbat yesterday, although kind of an abbreviated one, due to a previously-scheduled social engagement.  (Like I said, I’m still furtive.)

I did make it to shul, after a whole series of fashlot which almost convinced me I should stay home, but I managed to get there, only somewhat later than I usually try to arrive.  The service was good, and the rabbi talked about mitzvot and “partial mitzvot” during his “insight” this week, based on the story from the parsha of Moses setting aside three cities of refuge on the west bank of the Jordan (Yarden), despite not being required to set up all six cities until the Israelites had conquered the territory to the east of the Yarden.  HaShem apparently gives “part-marks.”  (That’s a relief! ^_^ )

I must admit that standing for a lot of the service was very hard this week because my back was hurting me.

I am getting to be much better able to follow the service, and read as fast as the rabbi speaks the various prayers and blessings, although it’s still hard.  I also still haven’t learnt all the tunes yet, especially since apparently sometimes they use different tunes — this time they used a different tune for Adon Olam, and so far, I only more or less know the version  sung here

I managed to attend for another buffet kiddush, which was nice — I like free food.  Once again, I ate probably half my weight in challah (do calories consumed on Shabbat count?), along with some really interesting eggplant-tomato stuff which may or may not have been some variation on zaalouk, three kinds of hummus, and vegetables.  I steered clear of the cholent this time, as apparently the local variation includes cinnamon or some spice that I think totally does not go with the rest of the flavours.  (Joke spotted on Facebook during the height of military operations recently:  “The IDF has respectfully requested that Ashkenazim stop sending food.”  Sefardi cuisine, on the other hand, is generally delicious…)

The best moment was probably near the end of the kiddush, when the rabbi started singing some nigun or other and he started dancing (while holding his young son) with two other men in long black coats and long grey beards, and one man in a blue short-sleeved shirt and a crocheted coloured kippah, spinning around each other’s joined hands in a square.  Beit Meshugge is a bit of a mixed bag, but in a tiny community like ours, that’s sort of to be expected.

Afterward, my friend M and a woman who was visiting from Jerusalem, the sister of a former congregant, walked back to near where I usually catch the bus (yeah, yeah, I know) through a trail in a park that I didn’t actually know was there.  Turns out that by using the system of trails by the river, I could almost walk from there to here without actually having to traverse much distance by road.  It’s also much, much shorter, but not so that I could practically walk it, at least not there and back again.  On the way, we saw about a million kinds of wildflowers and a Great Blue heron, who was obviously looking for some lunch.  (He should have dropped in at the shul; there was pickled herring.)

So.  I did not use any electricity, or any hot water (up until I had to get ready to go out), and I finally remembered about the toilet paper.  I also did all my cooking and cleaning in advance, so the house looked moderately nice and I had things I could just reheat, which I turned out not to need after all.  I did have to reset my Shabbat timer because somehow the time thingy had gotten out of whack, so that counts as touching muktzeh.  I also probably committed about a billion unintentional acts of Borer (sorting) while trying to find clean skivvies and socks and things, although I did my best to just sort of rummage through them and draw out the stuff I did want, as opposed to making a “keep” versus “discard” pile or anything.  I did light a candle and say the bracha, but I did not do a formal havdalah, as by the time I got home, although it wasn’t late, I was in a lot of pain and very tired and just wanted to crawl into a prescription bottle and go to sleep. 

I’m going to have to ask the rabbi about time-bound mitzvot and what I must do, and what I can elect to do, and what I can do bli neder so that if circumstances arise where I feel like I can’t do something, I don’t have to, and also what the rules are about observing time-bound mitzvot when sick or something.

All in all, it was a pretty good Shabbat, despite my not feeling terribly well.  Any Shabbat where I can refer to my absolutely canonically Scottish last name and say, “…you know, a good Ashkenazi name,” and have people get the joke, and where I can finish up at motzei by sucking on a slice of avatiach while watching Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is probably a good one.


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