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It had been a wonderful round-the-world trip, blessedly without the need for Dramamine prior to takeoff or the typical ensuing jet-lag after landing. Better yet, it had featured delectable cuisine from a variety of countries, all served graciously and with a broad smile. In fact, had it not been Purim on an erev Shabbos, I would have most likely happily stayed longer to savor the culinary offerings from the remaining few destinations on the travel itinerary.

However, with candle lighting time fast approaching, and my husband and sons in various stages of inebriation, I ultimately decided to not only skip the last couple of stops, but to bentch b’yechidus and high-tail it home twenty-plus minutes on foot to make it into the shower and then to Shabbos on time.


My daughter and her family had dressed up as a flight crew and distributed an adorable and authentically packaged and labeled ‘Kosher Airline Meal’ as their mishloach manos. The three-and-a-half year-old and nine-month-old brothers were the pilot and co-pilot respectively, and their two-and-a-half year-old sister was the ever-gracious stewardess.

All of the guests had to be screened with a TSA wand by my son-in-law before entering, and a recorded message from the toddler in-flight crew was played before the meal commenced. Printed menus detailing the designated stops/courses and illustrated with their national flags, were at each place setting, and the walls boasted “Fasten Seat Belts” and “No Smoking” signs, along with visual ‘screens’ of the plane and its many destinations.

Each delicious course was served on different paperware, along with its requisite freshly blended drink. We began with an elaborate pair of stunning sushi platters accompanied by sake for our visit to Japan.

Next came a stop in Russia, where we were served homemade borscht, pickles, and vodka.

Then on to the good old USA for oversized hot dogs with all the trimmings accompanied by a swig of beer. Next a quick detour down south to Mexico where we enjoyed delicious tacos with pulled beef, guacamole, salsa, and everything else you can think of, washed down with some tequila.

Our stop in Italy featured Mommy’s meatballs and spaghetti with a drink of fine Italian wine.

Israel, as in our blessed homeland and actual home, was our final scheduled main course destination, promising spicy meat and hummus and Arak. Alas, the unfortunate combination of a dearth of time on the clock and an excess of food in our stomachs resulted in this course being literally put on the back burner, at least temporarily.

Instead, the participants unanimously decided to skip directly to the two dessert destinations: Hawaii and Belgium, which featured an elaborate fruit platter and pina coladas, and Belgian waffles served with pareve ice cream paired with chocolate liqueur.

Sadly, I could not even properly enjoy that sumptuous finale to an incredible, opulent meal, because by then my watch registered less than an hour to go before licht bentching! I certainly hope that the airline compensates me for those uneaten delicacies!

As I mentioned earlier, I raced home on foot, quickly heated the Shabbos food, and dashed upstairs to shower and dress before the Shabbos queen made her appearance. Even with applying only the barest trace of makeup, I made it downstairs with no time remaining until candle lighting. My exhausted mother was sitting on the couch, and I urged her to hurry and light her candles while I transferred the remaining food to the oven and hotplate, and then lit my own candles and said the requisite prayers.

My mother was too tired to make it upstairs to the guest room, so I invited her to stretch out on the couch until my husband would return from shul in an hour or so. She fell asleep almost as soon as her head hit the armrest.

In the meantime, I davened, set the table, prepared some salad and dips for the appetizer course, and sat down to read while awaiting my husband’s grand entrance. When I decided to peek into the den to check on something, I was shocked to discover that my somewhat tipsy husband had not gone to shul after all! Instead he was sound asleep on the den sofa, still wearing his Purim costume! The irony of the situation did not escape me, and I actually found myself chuckling out loud.

I sat back down with the book of inspirational stories I had been reading, and resolved to patiently wait for the two sleeping beauties to awaken. However, neither of them exhibited any inclination to do that, so I ultimately opted to gently rouse my better half, before our Shabbos fare would be burnt to a crisp. And after he davened and donned more suitable Shabbos attire, we woke my mother as well and belatedly began what turned out to be a far shorter and more limited dinner than originally planned. And for the first time in living memory, everyone was in bed by 9:30 p.m.!

A blissful and eminently perfect ending to a hectic, memorable, and delightfully wonderful day.


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