We’re bringing Rebecca to our Shabbat table this week!
Two major images from the Rebecca story will take center stage at our Shabbat table. The first image: Gems and gifts to commemorate the beautiful jewelry Eliezer brought to Rebecca to woo her on Isaac’s behalf. Again, this time of year on the secular calendar proves a boon to a parashah mom who seeks inexpensive jewels and such. The crafts store has tons of pearl garlands, gold and silver beaded garlands, and glittery “holiday” picks that look like gift boxes. I will string the garlands around the table and then I will use the holiday picks to form napkin rings. I also have a bunch of large faux jewels that can decorate the table. The jewelry motif would not be complete without Paskesz candy necklaces and bracelets. Too bad they don’t make nose rings!
The second image will inform several of the menu items for this Shabbat. Rebecca exhibits her tremendous chesed and z’rizut, alertness and initiative to do a mitzvah, by running and drawing water from a well for Eliezer and his caravan of thirsty camels. The well serves as a powerful metaphor for life, vitality, and, ultimately, for Torah. What a great challenge for our Shabbat table! I will try to form a well out of a challah roll and fill the well with a vegetable dip and/or hummus. I will try to do something similar with thick crusty rolls to serve soup. As a side dish, puff pastry shells (a.k.a patty shells) will play the well role, filled with a mixture of sautéed vegetables. The well will reappear at the end of the meal in the form of a small watermelon cut to look like a well. I found a web site that gives step by step instructions for one of these. I plan to make mine a bit less elaborate, but I’ll follow the general strategies. To accompany our well, we will have camel shaped cookies. (We’re also bringing a batch of camel cookies to our hosts for lunch along with some silver chocolate coins, as a nod to the 400 silver shekel that Abraham paid for Me’arat HaMachpelah.)
Finally, to reinforce Rebecca’s traits of chesed and z’rizut, I’m devising a few friendly competitions for the Shabbat table (who can set the table the quickest, who can serve the most items, who can clear her/his place setting first, etc.).
Tammie Zaks Rapps creates menu plans that reflect each week’s Torah reading. Tammie feels that “Themed Shabbat meals allow us to focus on the Parashat HaShavua in an engagingand dynamic way.” Check out Tammie’s blog a parashahmom.blogspot.com and follow her here on ChallahCrumbs!