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The Shabbat Primer

Practicalities

Afterward: When Things Go Wrong

No chapter on the practicalities of Shabbat preparation would be complete without some consideration of set-backs. Throughout this book we discuss what to do about such typical problems as illness, a failed meal, spilled food, and uncooperative family members. In fact, however, the most practical defense against fiascos one can have is a wise attitude toward Shabbat itself.

Shaina puts it well. "When you keep Shabbat, you have to put yourself into a different frame of mind. Things I couldn't stand during the week affect me in an entirely different way on Shabbat. Suddenly, I have a longer-range, deeper perspective.

As you know, I'm something of a compulsive housekeeper. Normally, during the week if food gets spilled or mud tracks are left on the floor, I rush over to clean the mess up. I can't tolerate it for five minutes.

Well, one Shabbat a few years ago, my toddler urinated all over the seat of the sofa we'd just reupholstered. I couldn't scrub the stain or do anything about it. All I could do was throw a towel over the spot until after havdalah. I took a deep breath and thought, 'It's for Shabbat,' and walked away. It was a big test for me, being able to take that stain in stride, and I grew from it. Only on Shabbat...."

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