I asked another beloved family to celebrate Shabbat with me this week, but ended up rescinding the invite because I had to work Friday afternoon. The stress involved in getting dinner together for guests after a day of work was definitely not what I had in mind when I decided to try celebrating the holiday.
Friends say that with family, you ask people to pitch in and help, reducing the pressure involved in getting dinner on the table. Yes, that works with family because they know where everything is and how things work in the kitchen. With guests, I could ask them to help but would then have to not only answer questions about the where's and how's, but also maneuver around them. That would be, for me, even more stressful than doing it all myself.
So here I sit, wondering how to proceed. I would like to celebrate Shabbat by spending time with people I love, feasting, toasting, and relaxing, but the pressure involved in doing all the work of preparation, every week, is discouraging. Last fall I hosted Thanksgiving dinner here at the chateau. It took me two days to prepare. It was a lot of fun, also exhausting. I wouldn't do it again.
Shabbat is a family centered holiday. I live alone, have no kids, no husband. I am a family of one, so how do I square my solitary life with this family based holiday?
I do not have an answer to that.
Though I did indeed enjoy Temple Micah's Friday night service, the temple itself is an impossible commute for those of us who live across town and don't have cars. By bus it is a very unpleasant hour each way. By subway it's even longer as the closest station is a half-hour walk from the temple. So that's not going to work for me.
I'm scratching my head, wondering, questioning - and I will admit - once again feeling like a freak in the religion of my ancestors. I flirted briefly with the idea of seeking a partner, but then realized that wanting a partner just so I could celebrate Shabbat is not the best reason to throw myself into the unsavory world of old folk dating. I mean really, do you ever really look at men of my age? I try not to!
In every way you can imagine, I enjoy being single. It suits me, except in terms of celebrating Shabbat.
It's an interesting conundrum that I will be chewing on for awhile. Perhaps this idea I had of celebrating the Sabbath should be respectfully placed in the round file as we used to say back in the day when we kept information on paper. I'm still thinking about it, but I'm not expecting to come up with a viable solution.
Judaism has always been an ill fit for me. And yet I yearn for it. It's so interesting. Shalom.