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Mama Deb
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Catching up P2: Tisha B'Av

I hate Tisha B'Av. Everyone does, especially since the weather around here tends to be really, really bad on that day - hot and humid and designed to make us all miserable.

I got back from work on Wednesday, having not have consumed enough water, at about 6. The fast would begin in two hours. I needed to shop for dinner and for the next night's break fast. I also needed to drink water. And cook and eat and drink water. So. I went to the bank and deposited my paychecks and got some cash. And then I bought some water. And then I saw that the supermarket was closed. There was no reason for it to be closed so early, but it was. And so was the other one.

Time to panic.

Time to see that smaller stores were open. Dinner was supposed to be "Sarah's Pasta", a concoction of spiral noodles, canned salmon, frozen peas and fresh garlic. I had the garlic in the house. I had pasta of different shapes. I had tuna fish. I was going to improvise when I saw that the fish store was open. This is not my favorite fish store - the other one smells better - but it was open. I bought a half pound of fresh salmon fillet. With the skin. I should have had him remove it. I found pasta spirals in another store. The bagel store sold me bagels, cream cheese, lox and eggs. I was good to go.

Got home. Changed kitchen to dairy. Put up pots of water for pasta and eggs (hardboiled eggs. Necessity.) Skinned (badly) and chopped up salmon, Did the same for garlic. Poured olive oil in pan, added fish and then garlic and cooked until garlic was brown. Added a glug of cider vinegar. I used to use wine, and I prefer balsamic vinegar at this point, but there's a thing about grape products that may or may not extend to grape vinegar, so why push it? The cider vinegar was fine. I put in the eggs and lowered te flame and covered the pot. It would cook for 21 minutes. By this time, the fish/garlic was done, so I shut off the pot. The pasta water boiled I tossed in a half box of spirals. Ten minutes or so later, I tasted the pasta and found it needed a few more minutes.

Normally, I'd use frozen peas. You put the peas in the colander and drain the pasta over the peas. This time, I had frozen broccoli. I tossed them into the pasta pot to cook along with the pasta. When the pasta was done, I drained it and returned it, broccoli and all, to the pot and added the salmon/garlic/oil mixture. I then took the eggs out and refrigerated them.

And then I waited and waited and waited. And drank water. At 7:30, I ate some pasta. Was good. Jonathan came home fifteen minutes later, saying we had 24 more minutes than I'd thought. I joined him for a second plate of pasta, and we finished the meal with a banana, and said the short grace after meals. Then he burned a piece of paper to make ashes. We washed and said the blessing over bread over half a bagel, and ate it and an egg dipped in the ashes as a final meal of mourning. Also, we drank more water. We then said the full grace after meals, as we'd had bread and we were done eating and drinking.

At about 9PM, we walked to synagogue, where we did our best not to greet people. These things are forbidden during Tisha B'Av - eating, drinking, sex, washing, anointing, leather shoes, clean clothes,greeting friends and Torah study, except as regards the Destruction of the Temple. Also music and sitting in anything but very low chairs. Anything that brings pleasure. We're in pain. We're in mourning. We don't want pleasure. We sat on the floor or low chairs or soda crates and listened to the rather haunting rendition of Eichah, Lamentations, and said the first four kinnos (dirges?) and went home, stopping to chat with a friend, and wishing everyone an "easy fast."

There not being much else to do, other than watch tv, we watched tv, enjoying seeing Jon Stewart get the better of Anne Coulter, who is pretty, blonde and uberconservative, and went to sleep. Jon went to synagogue. I spent the day in bed, watching bad television, reading and sleeping. And I finished my cross stitch.

I will now shower and get dressed and look for a meat restaurant that might be open on a Friday after being closed for a week. I want beef, and I'll be able to eat it in about a half hour, after the Temple stops burning.

Comments
Forgive me for asking --

-- but isn't spending the day in bed watching TV awfully comfy for a day of mourning?

(No, really. I mean, if there's a rule, there's a rule, and I'm certainly not in a position to challenge it. But it seems like if you're not permitted to sit on anything but a stool or a low chair or a crate -- when we were sitting shiva, the rule of thumb was "nothing with a back," which I'm sure is much less precise than you tend to get, but there you go [g] -- then you'd also be expected to lie in bed while you need to sleep but not remain there any longer than necessary.)

Unless, like, your bed isn't really that comfortable. ;-D

Re: Forgive me for asking --

Well, okay, I probaby shouldn't have been watching television, but it's not *actively* forbidden. Nothing electronic is forbidden. And come on - I was watching Married with Children and Martha Stewart. (And, well, Spin City and slashing Carter and Stuart, but the show does that.) I mean, I deliberately made sure not to listen to the music channels. And when Jonathan wanted to nap - napping being the best way to get through the day - I shut off the TV and just read.

As for the chair thing - it's height, not comfort. In fact, when my father-in-law sat shiva a few weeks ago, his Orthodox synagogue, which does these things beautifully, sent over a special cut-down armchair for his use - far better than a box. They also sent over a Torah scroll and ark, a box of prayerbooks designed for the house of mourning (although, frankly, a standard prayerbook works just as well) and informed the congregation so that a minyan convened twice a day - morning and combined afternoon/evening. When I sat shiva almost three years ago, I used an elementary school chair, also with a back. When I paid a shiva call last week, the mourner sat in a rocking chair that her son had measured to be sure it was under the right height. As she has permanent injuries from being a dancer, this was a good thing - she would have been permitted to use such a chair anyway, given her injuries, but this way she could have it both ways, which made her feel better.

Anyway, one is permitted to sleep in a bed (don't think this doesn't figure, as an "onen", a bereaved person who is not yet a mourner because his/her relative is not yet buried, customarily does not sleep in a bed. As an aside, being an onen is *horrible* for all sorts of reasons.)on Tisha B'Av, so if one is planning on sleeping, one does not have to leave the bed. The prohibition on chairs was lifted at 1:10PM, anyway. At this point, men can say the afternoon service wearing the tallit and t'fillin they did not wear for the morning service. (Women can also, of course, say the afternoon service, but as most Orthodox women do not wear either tallit or t'fillin, it's less different.)

I hate Tisha B'Av.

As you say, you are not alone in that. Aside from hearing Eichah, I've yet to come up with anything to like about it.