Finding Serenity

On Sunday morning, I woke up knowing that there were only 36 hours until Erev Rosh Hashana and we still had not done any food shopping. I knew time was running out; I also didn’t want to start the new year eating non-kosher chicken or non-kosher meat. I wanted a kashrut Rosh Hashanah meal. So I decided to Google “Kosher take-out restaurants” and surprisingly, came up with several Kosher restaurants in my area where you could order take out. I thought ordering out would be a great idea; we wouldn’t have to cook and we would be eating Kosher food and it would be a traditional menu. It was now 10:30AM on Sunday. I called one restaurant and asked if it was not too late to order a YomTov meal for two. The kind man on the other end said, “It shouldn’t be too late; let’s see what we can do.” I was touched, really, by his kindness. I told him I would zoom by within the hour, and that’s what I did.

After reviewing the menu, the host – who was the same kind soul who I spoke with on the phone – suggested “Hey, why don’t you just eat here tomorrow night, instead of odering a take out meal?” I thought, hmmm, I never heard of that! Eating out on Rosh Hashanah? This wasn’t Mother’s Day! Eating out – yeah, that sounded sweet. No hassle, no clean up, no pots to wash… so I agreed and said “Yes, let’s do that” and that’s what we did, folks. Last nite, Erev Rosh Hashanah, we ate at a Kosher restaurant where everyone there who was dining was Jewish and observant – and it was like one big family. There was a washing basin where I was able to do my own HaMotzi and we ate challah and drank Kedem wine, ate chicken and meat and dunked our apples in the honey. There was one huge party of 70, a couple of parties of 10 or 12, some couples, some families, some Israelis, and the best part – we were all Jews. Well, except for my spouse but that’s where the Finding Serenity theme enters.

The kind gentleman who met me on Sunday, was also BalShemTov. After he had suggested that I make reservations, we started to talk about Judaism and God and – then it happened: I mentioned that I was married to a Christian. This kind man said I was blocking my better self. No one decides to live a life in which nothing of consequence happens. He said that by marrying a non-Jew I would never reach the fullest potential as a Jew and that by marrying a Christian would help impart my spiritual death.

How’s that for starting a New Year on the right foot?

So, folks, I ask you, am I doomed to fail at being a better Jew, which is what I have always wanted for myself? I came from a secular home and my pursuit of my Jewish self was born within me, not because I inherited the passion from my parents or grandparents. I always believed in G-d. Where did that calling come from? And would I heed that calling only to be told that after 25 years of being in love with the same person, that I would never find serenity?

Our marriage is largely successful I suppose because we have built a home in which Torah values are paramount. That can only be done with a spouse committed to the same values. Choosing to marry someone who shares the defining values of your life is not a bad thing, is it?

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