Shabbat shalom

by Hilla Duka


One of my favourite traditions in judaism is Shabbat. Come Friday evening, you get to gather your loved ones around you, eat what is hopefully a really good meal, drink some nice wine, and just appreciate that the week is over, all the duties and stresses of everyday life taken care of, and you get to spend some time relaxing with your loved ones. Ironically, before the diagnosis, I worked hard all week, and come Friday, I’d have some wine with friends or go out, but just getting home to do Shabbat dinner with my kids wasn’t on the agenda. In theory I liked it, but in reality, if I was home I was knackered, and if I had any energy I’d go out.


These days it’s a different story. In my tiny new life, preparing for Friday night has become a big deal. All week I see the kids and Ilir off in the morning, and then spend the day in uneventful waiting for them to come home. Shabbat has become a ritual I look forward to - the weekend, when all the kids are home and we can do stuff together, my beacon of light when the week itself feels empty and gloomy.

And then this: after having eaten well, to take our glasses, still sipping the wine from dinner, sitting down together in the sofa, happy and stuffed and tired. Then Jacob brings the orange cake he and I baked earlier, we pull out some new plates and bring the Shabbat candles from the kitchen. And I sit back and watch them, these kids I made, this family I got, all of them calm and happy and peaceful, all of them loving and caring towards each other and me, and I can’t help but feel so grateful. For tonight, for these people, for this life.


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