When we moved to Israel, we got rid of 90% of what we had accumulated in over 30 years in North America. Only someone who has done it will understand. Not only did we have rooms of furniture, kitchenware, and endless bookshelves filled with books (who can throw out a book??), but our five children, who no longer lived at home, had left most of their stuff behind, their bedrooms turned into their personal shrines.
We decided to give away almost everything, called young married couples, and told them people helped us when we got started in life, take what you want, and use it all in good health.
We donated appliances to yeshivas, made many, many trips to Goodwill, and threw out the rest….and there was a lot of rest.
I decided to give away my shabbos china to a single mother, thinking it would be difficult to ship, and I can always get new…. We moved, and life happened. And I never did buy Shabbat dishes. I bought a simple set of white dishes for eight from Ikea, and that is what we have been using. Because they are for every day and Shabbat, a few have already broken. A couple of weeks ago, my husband had to use a small dish at the Shabbat table, as there was nothing left after giving it to the guests!
And then I remembered that we had beautiful Passover china packed away that has hardly been used in years. Usually, we go away for Passover, as my husband and I are often speakers at those fancy getaways. And I love those dishes! They were a gift from a family in Denver who were in the import business, appreciated our classes, and told me to come to their warehouse and choose whatever china I wanted for Passover. I chose a classy white set with rings of gold and silver, matching platters, coffee cups, saucers, sugar bowls….the whole nine yards becoming a set for 24!
It dawned on me several times since we moved that perhaps they should be my dishes for Shabbat, but it was a huge decision because once chometz touches them, it’s over. You can never go back.
As some of you remember, last Shabbat was my father’s third yartzeit, and I decided in order to honor Shabbat and my father’s memory, I was going to bite the bullet and do it.
My husband was all in and began dragging out of crawl space boxes marked “Pesach Dishes.” I was still kind of on the fence until I saw the boxes. Written on the sides was “Joel’s,” as we had gone to a temporary house before moving to Israel that belonged to our friend, Joel.
Joel was my father’s name. It was a sign.
I cleared out a couple of shelves in a cabinet in the kitchen, and voila!
We set the table with the beautiful china and explained to our guests that this was the very first-time bread had ever touched these plates. After my husband made kiddish, I felt like leaning to the left and drinking the four cups!
We are taught to honor the Shabbat, and that means making it distinct and, yes, beautiful. From our clothes to our food, everything should be special. So l’kavod Shabbat Kodesh, in honor of the holy Shabbat, we now have the most beautiful table, laden with our ex-Pesach, now Shabbat china. Please come and enjoy them with us soon.