Despite my absence from blogging recently, I haven’t run out of things to say, only out of time to write them down. Since our baby has now started nursery (!) in theory I have more time, and I’m hoping that after the “festive season” I will be able to return to blogging more regularly.
In the meantime, a thought that occurred to me recently. We are currently in the midst of a whole run of festivals, interspersed with Shabbosos. As the wife of a community rabbi, we are blessed that, yes, my husband is “working” on Shabbos and yomtov, but he doesn’t have to take days off work 4 weeks in a row, and use up much of his holiday doing so. There’s a tremendous amount of cooking and clearing up to do at this time of the year, not to mention having to have Shabbos clothes ready every couple of days, but there are also wonderful opportunities for growth and strengthening relationships.
Shabbos and yomtov are times when one can develop one’s relationship with God, one’s family and one’s friends. Despite all the bustle, I’ve found snatches of time to spend with all the children, and even with my husband. Walking home from shul, doing pre-yomtov errands, snuggling and chatting with the kids in bed, either in the morning or at bedtime, a late night drink, when the children have finally gone to bed – all these are possibilities for spending meaningful time with one or two family members.
I’m also getting a lot of nachas from seeing the children strengthen the bonds between themselves. When most of the children accompanied my husband to shul for Kol Nidrei, our two youngest snuggled up on the couch and once I had lit candles, I went into the lounge to discover that our youngest son had fallen asleep on his brother, who had kindly stayed still until I came to rescue him.
Sukkos is a time when we can really feel ourselves closer to Hashem. Exiled from our comfortable homes into a shed in the garden, just as the winter sets in, it’s also the time when I most feel our golus. Following beautiful crisp autumn weather, last Sunday, probably the day on which most people were putting up their sukkos, the weather changed to torrential rain and strong winds. London and the South East were spared the worst of it, but it was still pretty unpleasant, and one couldn’t help thinking there was a message there. Let us hope that our tefillos will be answered and we will merit to rebuild the bonds with our families, friends and Hashem, so that next year, we will all sit together reunited in Yerushalayim.