This is just about the most important Mitzva a woman has in the Jewish religion. In this moment she makes a wish to G-d for anything she may desire.
I walk up the long flight of stairs that take me right in the living room/kitchen area and I see the dough rising, flax seeds and spelt flower all over the table…I turn around and I bump into two kids covered in white dust running around the dinner table playing “catch me if you can.”
Ayala the mother does not shed a drop of sweat, she takes them one in one arm, and one in the other and go about picking up the rest of the ingredients.
It’s almost time to bake, Shabbat will start in few hours and there is much to be done beforehand.
Tonight Ayala says she has everything she can desire, so instead than asking something for herself, she is asking for help for her women friends who have not yet been blessed with the joy of motherhood. She beats two yellow eggs in the white flour while picking-up the phone in one hand and barely reaching out to her little toddler rolling on the table. She calls in a hot line that goes directly to the Crown Heights switch board and she leaves a message: “Ayala Moshiach is baking, Baruch Ashem, may all the women who do not have children yet, be blessed with fertility and such joy that motherhood brings. Shabat Shalom.” She hangs up the phone and We all shout out loud “Amen.”
We mixed the eggs, beat the dough and breaded at least 10 challots and relative challah rolls-I was sent home with a whole spelt loaf all to myself-(it took me a week to finish it!!!)
We put the challots in the oven and then Chana, the oldest of the four sisters, picks up her tambourine, and starts beating on it while jumping up and down in a festive mood. Her sisters come along with theirs and follow along…
I am totally caught by surprise. What is going on? I have never seen this and I have been celebrating Shabbat for as long as I remember.
“It’s time to dance now, Fede,” said Leah the middle sister. “When you dance, you show G-d you are happy and your happiness is spread around all who are close to you.”
WOW, who knew.
Happiness will be. I pick-up a tambourine myself and join the circle while Levy, the baby brother of the family, takes a fake Torah roll in his hands and starts dancing next to me lifting it up and down with a big smile on his face.
Not quite the disco nights I am used to in Europe, but certainly different and somewhat very inspiring.
Shabat Shalom indeed!