27 Things I Learned During a Trip to the Lancaster Farmer’s Market One Shabbat(1) Morning
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1) Asian roommates aren’t always the best at remembering to wake you up with enough time to get ready before 9:00.
2) Eleven minutes is not enough time to wash your face, put in contacts, pee, dress, brush your teeth, throw on a clean pair of underwear before you run out, and do your hair. Not to mention daven(2).
3) I hope God doesn’t mind if p’sukei d’zimra(3) is in between spitting out mouthfuls of toothpaste, or if the sh’ma sounds like, “che-chaaaa chi-cha-chel cha-cho-chaiii che-cho-chei-chu cha-cho-chai p’tui! echad(4).”
4) Someone needs to invent an alarm clock that turns off automatically on Shabbat(5). Actually, I think my alarm clock stops beeping after a minute anyway.
5) Someone needs to remind me to set my alarm on Friday before Shabbat comes in.
6) Wardrobe advisory: Shabbat heels(6) are not the best choice when walking two miles. In the heat. Uphill. Both directions.
7) Fine, it was downhill on the way back.
8) About the heat: it’s bad when you forget antiperspirant. Especially if you’re wearing a nice, white Shabbat blouse. Especially on the hottest day of the year.
9) Shabbat heels are also not the best choice when a pebble somehow lodges itself under your heel and you can’t wiggle it out because it’s stuck to your tights. Also, please note that tights cling tighter to sweaty skin than my camp friends to their TI-84s. They’re also not the best choice — the tights, not the camp friends.
10) And no, there wasn’t an eruv(7). And no, the eruv really wasn’t my biggest issue with the pebble. And no, the pebble really wasn’t my biggest issue with the lack of an eruv.
11) Let me make something clear: you have to stay hydrated when the temperature climbs past 200°F. And swallowing the sweat that drips off your upper lip does not count, even when you supplement it by licking your sweaty arms.
12) Don’t get me started on why you need to carry a water bottle on a long walk.
13) One last thing about the heat: how do the Amish manage?! I mean, basic black is even worse than Shabbos(8) white.
14) When you go to the Famer’s Market, it’s kinda expected that you’ll buy things(9). Especially because you’re taking away a valuable spot on an overbooked trip from others on a long waiting list. But guess who couldn’t bring money? “Can I pay for that lemonade with… with… uh… would you like a beautiful, pristine pebble?”
16) When your friend offers to lend you a twenty, ignore the urge to snatch the bill so you can join the spending spree on bags upon bags of heart-attack-sized globs of calories and fat.
17) Oooh, especially fudge. Never forget The Fudge.
18) Oh, and just to add insult to hunger (breakfast was not a priority in my meager eleven minutes for getting ready), did I mention that the food sold at the Market is homemade by the Amish? Okay, great, I’m all for buying local and reducing my carbon footprint and all that stuff, but the Amish don’t exactly use a mashgiach(10), do they? So guess who couldn’t even mooch food off of her friends?
19) Did you know that it’s illegal to bring fudge back to the dorms? Obviously, that doesn’t stop anyone. But you already know who couldn’t smuggle even one teeny-tiny bag under her now-permanently-stained-by-that-godawful-sweat shirt because there was no eruv.
Frustrated? Bitter? Pissed off out of her mind for letting her friends convince her to go? Who, me?
20) I should have told them, “I don’t like the Amish.”
21) I should have told them, “I don’t like fudge.”
22) I should have told them, “I’m an observant Jew, so I can’t go to the Farmer’s Market on the holy Sabbath.”
23) I should have told them, “Sorry, I have to stay behind to pray.” Or read the Bible. Or fast(11). I mean, they’re not Jewish; what do they know about how I spend my Shabbat mornings?
24) Here’s a valuable life lesson: when the mercury starts to spurt out the top of the thermometer, under no circumstances should you go outside, let alone go on a long walking trip.
25) Ha, who am I kidding? No one uses thermometers these days. It was only after Shabbat that I heard the temperature had reached record heights, when my mom yelled at me over the phone for forgetting sunscreen. But listening to my mom nagging me from hundreds of miles away was nothing compared to speaking with my dad. Boy, was he mad that the first time I woke up on Shabbat before lunch in six months I went to a market instead of shul.
26) Did I mention he’s a rabbi?
27) It’s a good thing he didn’t ask about the afternoon. Let’s just say there was no parashat hashavua(12) during the water-balloon fight(13).
1) The Jewish holy day of rest, from Friday sunset to Saturday night
2) Yiddish for pray
3) First prayers in the morning
4) The sh’ma is an especially important prayer: “Sh’ma Yisrael Adomai Elokeinu Adomai echad
5) Using electronics is forbidden on Shabbat
6) It is traditional to dress more formally on Shabbat
7) A ritual enclosure that allows Jews to carry items in a public area on Shabbat
8) Yiddish pronunciation of Shabbat
9) Buying is also forbidden
10) Religious Jews only eat food that is Kosher; a mashgiach watches the process to ensure proper standards
11) There was a Jewish fast day only a few days later. Maybe I needed to do a pre-fast fast.
12) The weekly Torah portion, read publicly in synagogue and studied Saturday afternoons
13) Water balloon fights, or anything that may water vegetation, are forbidden on Shabbat
Eliana Lorch, Age 16, Grade 11, Solomon Schechter School of Manhattan, Silver Key