After spending two days in cooking farr, and getting increasinly tense in the last few minutes before and after candlelighting - and with the house very hot because the main AC is not working and I have to keep my oven on for the entire weekend - Rosh HaShanah began.
My table was entirely cleaned off; my house was relatively neat in the public areas thanks to my husband, and I had a fridge with more food than it could comfortably hold. My oven held a challah kugel, a casserole with green beans, almonds and onions, a pot of gravy and a pot of soup. There was a container of noodles on the stove top, between the burner pairs.
And I sent my husband off to synagogue while I said the evening service at home. He returned with our guest, Big Zev (we call him that to differentiate between him and another friend named Zev.) who is recently divorced. Dinner came off well. The turkey was perfect, and the beans were okay, if too almondy. I liked the kugel a lot.
Jonathan was promised an aliyah if he got to synagogue in time, so he left early the next day. I got to shul around 10AM. I kept looking at the wall chart to find the seat I'd purchased, but it was confusing and I couldn't find it. So Marina, who noticed my confusion, told me to sit next to her, as that woman wasn't coming. So I got a seat by the only table, which was cool. I didn't need to hold my two machz'rim ( a machzor is a holiday prayerbook) in my lap. Two because I like to use two. One is an all-Hebrew Israeli machzor, in Ashkenazi liturgy, which I like for the quiet portions of the service and the other is the Artscroll Hebrew/English, which I like for the repetition and other singing portions. I find this gives me a good balance for meditation and understanding, and the ability to just follow. The Israeli one can be a tad difficult to follow, which doesn't matter for the quiet prayers.
I came in time for the end fo the Torah reading. I used that time to catch up. And it was just in time for the kiddush, which my synagogue does between services on Rosh HaShanah because the services are so long and one shouldn't fast that long.
No shofar blowing on Shabbat, so after we returned and the rabbi made his sermon, we launched right into the additional service and its repitition and so on, and by the time it was all over, it was about 1:15 or so. Like I said, long. But it didn't seem that way, even granted I came late. I think my Hebrew skills have improved to the point that I can just go with the prayers - I only drifted off a couple times and I never started plotting. This is a positive.
Lunch was leftover kugel and turkey sandwiches. I napped away the afternoon - a bit of a mistake, as it turned out, and dinner was veggie chili and rice that I'd made the day before and reheated. Also, the fish, which was a real success - both pretty and tasty.
And we didn't sleep that night. It was hot and sticky, and we'd napped and Jonathan was worried about doing proper tshuva (repentence) and I was worried that I *wasn't* worried, that I was focused on the friends we were having over for lunch the next day. Jonathan said it was okay, because I was focusing on mitzvot but...
We both found nice, comfortable things to read while sitting in the hot dining room (remember, oven is on, plus bedroom lights were off by the timer, so we had to go where the light was.) Eventually we went to bed, and eventually, we went to sleep.
And we didn't get to shul until after ten. And it was raining, so I wore one hat and took my good one in plastic bag. Can't use an umbrella on holidays. The rest was a near repeat of Saturday except, of course, there was the shofar blowing. And Marina, who was using the Artscroll transliterated (not just translated) linear Hebrew/English, couldn't find the silent amidah for the second day. So, as I already had my own Artscroll opened to the correct page, and I was using my other machzor anyway, I handed mine to her. Don't need transliterations for silent prayer, after all. So, that went fine, and she could find the repitition in hers, so I didn't need to stumble in just the Hebrew one, which gets really confusing.
And it was all over by 1:15 again, which is amazing since the shofar blowing would have made it longer. We got home by 1:30, leaving the doors unlocked so that our guests could just come upstairs. In fact, we'd just gotten some final straightening done and the table set when Judith and Chaya Raizel showed up. Alone. They'd left early. So early that Judith had not heard the final sixty shofar blasts, out of the customary 100. So. Jonathan took out his shofar and got through about half before succumbing to exhaustion. Meanwhile - I'd put the soup noodles out to warm and lit a burner and moved the soup *off* the burner and then Yitzchak showed up without Abba, so we were still waiting.
And the house was even hotter because of the oven on 250 and the burner on the stove and the huge pot of soup. But, well.
Richard showed up at 2PM and lunch went well from then on. I had just enough fish (even if Chaya Raizel didn't want the pink part and Yitzchak didn't like the parsley) and the soup was yummy and the pot roast had fallen to wonderful pieces, and even the tofutti was good. And the conversation went everywhere, with Yitzchak showing a distinct conservative bent - we think from his schools since his parents aren't like that. He's just thirteen. These things happen.
And the kids fought and ran around, which was both annoying and *nice*. Nice because they were treating us like family, not friends, and we like that. Annoying because, well. I will say that their parents did stop them each time. It's that they kept starting again. And, as we had three adult males (Yitzchak's bar mitzvah was last March), we had a "mezumin", which means a formal introduction to the grace after meals. We asked Richard to lead, which is not something he does often.
And then they left, and we collapsed for the afternoon.
One holiday down.