Your editor received the following bona-fide letter from Sora
Horowitz in Bayit Vegan who said she did not want to remain
anonymous if the use of a real name will help others. She
I am a working mother of four and a kollel wife. I
never have enough time to get everything done, or ideas to
upgrade my efficiency. Many times, I reached Shabbos with 'my
tongue hanging out', so to speak, panting and thoroughly
exhausted. Three months ago, I spied an ad in your paper for
LIFESAVER COURSES on home management in various areas
(Instructor: 02-5372-055). Even though I do consider myself
`fairly on top of things', it appealed to me. After all, I
didn't know everything. I called, was impressed by the
instructor over the phone, and signed up for a time-
We were asked at the first meeting what our specific goal
was. Mine: to be ready for Shabbos on time.
Sora tells us that after a few sessions, she actually had
the children seated on the couch Friday afternoons, listening
to a story and asking if it was time to light candles yet. It
was 20 minutes early! This instead of their usual reminder
that the Shabbos whistle was blowing.
I signed up for a course on Pesach preparation. This is
always a pressured time since I work up until the 14th of
Nisson. Again, I received the tools with which to get
organized, plan and execute the job. And I did it!
When we discussed the topic of help from the children in our
workshop, I kept silent. My oldest is a boy of 8. Our
instructor read my reservation and insisted on tackling this
aspect. And her ideas worked!
I highly recommend this particular course and its instructor.
Her ad appeared in the FAMILY SECTION on May 12, and the
CLASSIFIED SECTION of May 19. The number, again, is 02-
5372055. But I felt a personal endorsement was my way of
saying a hearty "Thank You", and passing on the good news to
all the readers.
IN GENERAL - a heart to heart talk
Maybe it's a case of priorities, maybe it is an appreciation
of Shabbos that comes with age. If one pants for Shabbos at
the finish line, do they have what to show for it? When
Shabbos finally comes, is it the real thing?
A young woman once described a disastrous Friday to me and
how she had handled it. She had had a major plumbing problem
that had taken hours to unplug and made a mess of the house,
compounded by her lively children traipsing through the
This young woman made it by the bell. But what was her
Shabbos like? Salami. Bought kugel. Challa and bought salad
spreads. A jar of fish. And how did she feel about it all?
She had survived and was relieved. Not guilty. Almost proud
that she hadn't had a nervous breakdown. I know we must
judge such situations favorably and hope we never have to
live through them. But also, derive a vicarious lesson from
just hearing about it. How would you have handled it, not you
Bessie Baalebustas, but you average harried mothers? We'd
like to hear from you. How to make Shabbos special under
Then there was the time I came home from a wedding outside of
Jerusalem. I was waiting at the deserted bus stop, when a
woman I knew somewhat decided to confide in me. I guess the
dark was conducive to confessions. "Do you always make it to
candlelighting when the whistle sounds?" she asked. I thought
she meant a discrepancy of a minute of two and said, yes,
give or take them. She shamefully revealed that she
considered herself lucky to light candles eighteen minutes
before sunset. This was in Jerusalem. I was shocked, but
tried not to show it, lest I frighten her. I offered all
kinds of suggestions, and tried to point out the illogic in
not being ready in time for the whistle when she did make it
in time for the eighteen minute deadline, which kept on
moving, anyway. I don't feel things should be like this. I
think something is basicly wrong about this attitude towards
Shabbos, and with the first woman's priorities and procedure.
I don't know, but I think the home touch of something cooked,
thrown into the pot before the floors were mopped,
would have made it a Shabbos. Is this impossible thinking?
And I also feel she should have felt guilty. And what about
the second one? What could you suggest?
Then there is the paper plate controversy.
A mother of ten I know well (mostly boys, but they're well
trained) who always has half a dozen guests for Shabbos - at
least - tells of one newcomer who made his committment to
Tshuva from her Shabbos table. He had seen much of
institutional cooking and serving, and the real china,
serviettes and matching silverware, the atmosphere of a
family sitting down to dine, royally, in her home, had made a
profound impression. I don't think this woman's schedule is
ANY the less hectic or any emergency-less on occasion, and
still, her Shabbos is a Shabbos to be proud of.
I think that washing dishes is a small price to pay for that
royal atmosphere. A cheap price to pay for the luxury of
Shabbos. I'll capitulate for a sheer plastic over the white
terylene tablecloth and thank my luck that I don't have to
starch and iron it. I think if we had no choice, I would. But
Paper is Party; festoon and not festive. I would rather cut
corners on other things that don't (show or) make such a
difference. To me, this does. What do you think? Any
I guess I'm old fashioned. I'd love to hear what you all have
to say (and at what stage of life you're at).
I think it boils down to an attitude of loving what you do as
opposed to being resigned to a fate, which is what we try to
promote in our Family section. Not only `resigned' to
bringing up a large family. Resigned to cooking a full day
for Shabbos in advance. Not an attitude towards mitzvos as
obligations instead of opportunites. For, really, they are
gifts to mankind. The feeling- sorry-for-yourself syndrome in
Pesach is not a boogey man! It is not a punishment to be
afraid of or resented. The four weeks between Purim and
Pesach are part of the gift package. It is a challenge, a
test of mettle, to use your brains, brawn, middos - to
flex all those muscles and accomplish! And be proud and
happy, making that fresh start.
Nu? What do you'all have to say?
Mail: Weinbach at Panim Meirot 1, Jerusalem, FAX to 02-