Have you heard the one about the man who breaks down with a flat tyre in the night in the middle of nowhere? Up on a hill he sees a light and thinks maybe they will have a jack. Walking to the house he has misgivings.
“I wonder if there is anyone still up. They will probably be too fearful to open the door. Maybe they don’t have a car so why would they have a jack. Perhaps they are on holiday and the light is just to scare away burglars. They probably have a large dog who doesn’t like strangers” and so on
He rings the bell and a woman answers, not in her pyjamas, she smiles and before she can say anything, he shouts “keep your bloody jack.”
Well I am feeling a bit like ‘keep your bloody jack’ right now. Its Rosh Hashona next Friday, the Jewish new year. And it is custom in our house to have a big dinner, invite friends and family and eat lots of lovely food. Except this year we have COVID .
So, I have to think about social distancing for my 3 boys and their partners. Do we eat outside? Will it be warm enough? Will its rain? Or can I rearrange the kitchen to accommodate everyone remaining distance safe.
In addition I have 4 meat eaters, 1 vegan and 2 vegetarians. One who will not eat vegan and one who insists on roast chicken and chicken soup comme d’habitude. “It wouldn’t be the same without mamma’s chicken soup.” Indeed my Uncle Monty who used to come to us every year for New Year’s dinner loved my keneidalch which he referred to as ‘Roma’s balls’ – “I love your balls,” he would say with a cheeky smile on his face. Then remind me that I needed to make sure I watered down his wife’s whisky 1/4 whisky 3/4 water. The women in our family had a genetic penchant for a wee bit of the strong stuff. And Rosh Hashona was a good excuse to over indulge. Not that they needed an excuse. It took me years to realise that my mum was probably a secret drinker. I used to find tea cups dotted around her house with bits of whisky in them. And many a time during family get togethers I would find one of the five Aunts slumped in the toilet.
So, while normally I would invite guests to join us for the celebrations which had the added benefit of buffering any conflict that might arise between between the boys, this year I will be chief arbitrator. Not a role I relish. So I am thinking that may be Rosh Hashona is my jack and I won’t bother. Moreover with the news rules in force from Monday jack or no jack we will be one over the permitted 6 that is allowed.
There is possibly some good news on the horizon – I have heard that this year which is 6000 in the Jewish Calendar – just might be the last year as it is the year when the Messiah is supposed to arrive and usher in the redemption. Oh, please yes if ever we needed redemption it is right now.
Apparently the Talmud tells us that this world, as we know it, will last for six thousand years, with the seventh millennium ushering in the cosmic Shabbat, the Messianic Era. Six days a week we work, and on the Shabbat, we rest and enjoy the fruits of our labour; the same is true with millenniums. I am not holding my breath, but I am ever hopeful that we just might see something good happening. Cause quite frankly I am awfully fed up with the current state.
“Let’s be careful out there”