First Shabbos Together

Posted at

On Thursday night, Itai and I travelled to Tzfat. By the time we got to my house, it was past midnight and we were both ready to go straight to bed. Between working and shopping and cooking for Shabbos, Friday went by in the blink of an eye, even though I had gotten an early start on the day. The one thing that both Itai and I noticed about Friday was how much we had both missed just having a partner in the kitchen, turning together through the dance of making Shabbos, quietly chopping or frying vegetables in harmony.

I took Itai to Friday night services at the Abuhav Synagogue, and he thought the building's rich decorations were gorgeous. We were both amused by the swallows that had somehow gotten inside and soared and fluttered beneath the shul's vaulted ceilings. Dinner was at Avraham and Rebecca's. Since Becca felt that she might be coming down with something, she just made a simple but delicious meal of black bean soup, and Itai and I were the only guests. In the morning, Itai's stomach was bothering him, so I went to shul alone, but he was feeling better when I returned. We went out for a walk to the old (mostly ruined) fortress at the peak of the hill that Tzfat is built upon while we waited for the food to warm up. When we got home, the two of us feasted upon rice pilaf with mushrooms, cashews, and pistachios. The meal was followed by a timely afternoon nap, and then we went to Abuhav again for mincha, before wandering back to the Loewenthals to catch Third Meal and Havdalah. This time, there were lots of guests over, and Becca looked like she was feeling better. After Shabbos, we took a short tour of Avraham's gallery with a few of the guests who were visiting from the States. The rest of the evening I spent at home with Itai, and he gave me my very first guitar lesson with a guitar that I borrowed from Rebecca.

The crowning experience of the weekend was breakfast after shacharis on Sunday morning. I made french toast from the challah that was left over from Shabbos while Itai entertained me with plucking on the guitar and telling me stories from when he was alternately a teacher and student at college in Portland. As we sat and ate the toast with jam and tea, we gazed at the rain clouds outside my kitchen window and continued sharing stories. It couldn't have been a lovelier scene.

As the hour crept toward noon, Itai packed up to go home to Tel Aviv. I reluctantly sent him off, but only after equipping him with my copy of Wrestling With God and Men by Rabbi Steven Greenberg and also with what is probably my favorite non-fiction book ever, Le Ton Beau de Marot by Douglas Hofstadter.

I can really feel my relationship with Itai starting to gel. Simply spending time together just seems more and more natural. He makes me feel like I can be myself around him in a way that I've never felt around anyone else. It's just a bonus that he can teach me so much about music and language, the two loves of my life that have been least developed so far.