from Proverbs Nine
Wisdom is a meal.
Our new babysitter is from Kansas and didn't grow up with a lot of Jewish friends. She moved to New York to be a writer, not a babysitter; but hey, it pays the rent and she's a really warm and kind person. We invited her to celebrate the first night of Hanukah with us and we got her some presents--books, which she really appreciated. But she really appreciated the meal, too. The latkes seemed a particular hit--with the apple sauce, the sour cream, and my special Moroccan lemon and pepper spread. "Can I bring my friend my college?" she asked and we said 'of course.' "He's Jewish," she explained. "My dad's Jewish," he explained when he arrived. "And I was raised Unitarian." Whatever that is, I thought. "Well, Thomas Jefferson, right?" I offered, making conversation. And in Madison the Unitarians pray in a church designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. We agreed that Unitarians are nice. Outside our window Chabad was lighting that hideously ugly menorah on Grand Army Plaza. "Unitarians don't make this much noise on Hanukah," I said to no one in particular.
We gave the young man presents, too. A nice pen and a pad of paper. "This is for your memoirs while you're in Brooklyn," we said.
Mishley said, "If thou art wise, thou art wise for thyself; and if thou scornest, thou alone shall know it." Write down what you do every day. You'll know whether or not you've been wise or filled with scorn. The paper doesn't lie.
Nor the appetite. I made the lemons back in August, pickled them and set them in the back of the refrigerator for their debut on the first night of Hanukah. "This is a very special meal for so many reasons," we explained to the babysitter. We raised a glass to Maccabees and latkes, to books and pens, to lemons and to the wisdom reaped from waiting.