From last Saturday, a half a lifetime ago.
As the saga of hospitality continues here on the “French Hill” we also reflect on a day that was so windy it promptly smashed two windows in our flat, and so cold that the brief view of Jerusalem’s golden hall mark three kilometres away felt enough of a promise of what’s to come. Instead of venturing in we remained roaming around our own pad. Laughing at endless arrays of dodgy cats and comparing types of palm leaves.
Avner led me into a devotion on the beginnings of Christ’s passion:
“And when he had arrived on his donkey Jesus went into a house, broke the bread (hat es kaputtgemacht) with his friends and drank some wine as the blood he gave for them. He then went into the garden to pray for God and then he was all alone.”
If you have kids I’m sure you’ve experienced he wonder and joy that comes upon you when you suddenly see that they have realised something astonishing about God. It was all I needed today but there were more treats from heaven.
We knocked on our muffin baking neighbours’ door to see what the three boys and their toys were like. 8, 6, and 4 years old, with their kippa and prayer beads immediately recognisable as observing Jews, they opened the door and we had to wait for their Ima to get her head covered before she could welcome us in.
And a welcome it was. Hot chocolates, biscuits, games and conversations between children and adults in snippets of Hebrew, German and English. The boys worked tirelessly to get our kids involved and the adult conversation felt so free and relaxed, chatting German Jewish history, Israeli politics, religion even…
It ended in an invitation to participate in the traditional formal blessing that marks the end of Shabbat. Candles, bitter herbs, wine, song and prayer to comfort the soul as „she“ separates from the Sabbath day.
We went home packed with toys and the promise of borrowing Purim costumes for the children.
We are so amazed and hope that the delightful boys we met today won’t bang the doors again at 6 am tomorrow morning.
Should I mention that more new friends called in later to bring more food and goodies and to help with fixing the broken window?
Shabbat is over. What is next?