Friday, July 27, 2007

Run down

  • Slept until 10:30 am
  • Sat around talking until noon.
  • Showered.
  • Got ride with Dad to a café.
  • Sat with B1 and used the internet for a couple of hours.
  • Dad ran all around town shopping for the family.
  • Felt mildly guilty.
  • After the coffee shop, B1 and I bought wine, ate falafel and had gelato.
  • Taxi ride home with B1.
    • During the ride we laughed about our extremely limited Hebrew. We couldn’t give basic instructions to the cab driver such as, "left," "right," "stop," or "here" (subsequently, I learned that "po" is "here") but we do have a great collection of random words: cookie, underpants, gum. Nevertheless, we arrived at our temporary home safely by 3pm.
  • Dad arrived at 4pm.
  • We left around 5:30, which was not in time to help very much.
  • When we got to the homestead, there wasn't much to do but sit and watch.
  • I changed into my "appropriate" clothing.
    • Wearing tights in 95 degree heat is not recommended. I didn't do such a great packing job this time--I need more lightweight long-sleeved, high collared shirts.
  • Ora joined us. She, two friends and two sisters sang the Shabbos prayers after everyone else left. I sat and listened as did Avital (my niece-in-law). I'm not sure why she didn't sing; probably didn't know the melodies since she was raised in the Yemeni culture. I didn't ask.
  • As the singing wrapped up, they did a bit in English about finding husbands, singing each single girl's name in turn. I got a turn too.
  • We walked down the block to the hall for the first formal "sheva bracha." That means seven blessings. A week of these dinners follows every wedding. This year, I'll attend three. That's more than enough.
  • Men and women were seated at two long separate tables, parallel to each other.
  • Most of the toasts were translated into English, either by the speaker or by B2. Apparently, this was at Ora's request.
  • One of the toast's was given by the rabbi who is the head of B2's yeshiva. Whenever this man spoke, B2 stared at him intently. Later, I said to B1, "Did you see how B2 looked a that rabbi?" B1 said, "With complete devotion." I said, "True love." The rebbe is American by birth and runs a Yeshiva in Baltimore. His English is perfect and he translated for himself. He gave three speeches over the course of the weekend, but I'll just repeat one.
    Aristotle said there are three kinds of love--three reasons why we love someone else. The first reason is if they do things for us, if they help us. The second reason is if they make us happy, if they amuse us. The third reason is if they have qualities that we admire. There is also a fourth kind of love, a kind of love that has no reason. This is the most lasting kind. The other kinds can end--if the person changes and is no longer admirable or stops doing for us, we can stop loving them. But if we love someone for no reason, only because they love us, that love will last a lifetime.

    At the shevas brachas, we praise the hossen (groom) and the kallah (bride). Why do we do this? The reason is to help them love each other by telling them about their admirable qualities. And to inspire their love for each other. If they begin to love each other for no reason, their love will be the most lasting kind.
  • Do you buy it? I'm not sure either, but it was interesting.
  • Later, I learned that B1 is not considered Jewish by this crowd. (He converted, but it wasn't sufficient.)
    • Having a "Shabbos goy" around came in handy a few times. You can ask a goy to do things that you can't ask a Jew to do. That is, they could ask B1, or at least hint, that he should do something forbidden, like put a pot on the stove. They wouldn't ask me to do such things or even hint that I should. Oy.
  • I stuck around the hall after dinner, trying to help with the clean up. I was told to go home several times by Estee, Ora's friend. I was mildly annoyed--doesn't she know I'm here to help? I ignored her.
  • I was up late again, until around 1:30am.
  • Falling asleep was a challenge due to hard bed and being on the ground floor of a bunk bed, which moved every time my upstairs niece moved. I did fall asleep eventually, but it was not a restful night. Luckily, the next day was.
Grateful for: a full day.

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