Wednesday, August 30, 2006

What do we call home?

This past Shabbos, my best friend and neighbor Georganne was here for lunch with her husband James and her wonderful daughters, Elior and Noa. Elior took several helpings of mushrooms and declared they were the best she ever tasted. I told her, "I am glad you like them. I will pack some for you to take home". Her answer brought tears to my eyes. "But this IS my home!"
The same Elior cracked me up some years ago, when I was babysitting her at my house. She grew up in cramped quarters (but this is getting better soon, G-d willing, when they move to a larger house; we will loose our wonderful neighbors, such is the unfortunate story of most New Yorkers' lives)and looked in awe at my comparatively minimally furnished house. She exclaimed "Levana, how come you have no furniture in your house? Is this your country house or something?"
In Elior's small house, I couldn't even begin to enumerate how many guests have poured in, how many fabulous Shabbos and Yom Tov meals, Sheva Brachot, arts and crafts dates, have been hosted. I give them our classical Sephardi bracha: May your house always be full, may your new house become too small for you, may H' constantly expand your space. And on parting, another old Sephardi saying I would like to share with you, which seems to have been composed expressly for them: "Your close neighbor is more precious than your remote brother".

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