Shabbat guest

Discussing what is the right thing to say, and the right way to act, in situations arising in a Torah environment.
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Shabbat guest

Postby Sander » Sun Apr 04, 2010 4:15 am

Why is it important to be a guest at someone's home on shabbat?

This comes up even more on pesach, because people make sure everyone has a seder to go to.

But on a regular shabbat, why is it important to go to someone's home for meals? This is an issue for me as we get into May and June, because Friday night is late. I live in Canada, and sunset gets later and later. I live alone and sometimes would like to go home and get to bed early on Friday night, but I feel embarassed because my neighbors always ask where I was. It is difficult to politely decline.
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Re: Shabbat guest

Postby rivka » Sun Apr 04, 2010 5:06 am

I think there is nothing wrong with having a meal alone on Shabbos. I prefer quiet meals at home most of the weekends I don't have my kids too.

Sander wrote:I feel embarrassed because my neighbors always ask where I was.
Just smile and say, "I had a quiet Shabbos dinner at home." If you are clearly happy with that, so should they be.

Sander wrote:It is difficult to politely decline.
Try "This week isn't good for me. Would it be ok if I join you next week for lunch instead?"

That said, you are lucky that you get lots of invitations. Even if doesn't always feel like it.
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Re: Shabbat guest

Postby Kira » Mon Apr 05, 2010 9:28 pm

Well put, Rivka.

I've been thinking that it might be fun to have an "etiquette" section.

Like Miss Manners (http://lifestyle.msn.com/Relationships/ ... id=8318975), but for a Torah society.

Just as above - "How does one politely decline an invitation if all you want to do is spend a quiet Shabbat meal at home?"

-Kira
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Re: Shabbat guest

Postby rivka » Wed Apr 07, 2010 3:39 am

I like that notion. :)
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Re: Shabbat guest

Postby Sander » Wed Apr 21, 2010 9:39 am

ok, I have a ton of etiquette issues.

Sometimes I am invited for a shabbat lunch, and we eat, and then people just sit around talking, but not making bircat hamazon. It can be 1 or 2 hours before the host wants to do birkat hamazon. I think it is because the host feels that birkat hamazon signals it is time for everybody to go home, so he delays it to keep the party going.

But I don't like to sit around the table and not making the blessing. So I like to make the blessing on my own. This is awkward if they need me for mezuman. Also, it has happened sometimes on a Friday night, that there is a shalom zachar or something that I want to go to after supper. The host is going too, but he wants to arrive late at shalom zachar and I want to arrive early, which means leaving the table at a certain time. What ended up happening is the host told me to wait and tried to detain me. After this happened two or three times, I decided I just can't do both things. If I want to go to the shalom zachar, I don't have dinner with that particular host.
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Re: Shabbat guest

Postby rivka » Wed Apr 21, 2010 12:23 pm

Sander wrote:If I want to go to the shalom zachar, I don't have dinner with that particular host.

I have come to similar conclusions. There are certain people I will only go to for a lunch meal, not Friday night, because I know their meals always last for hours, and I'm much less tolerant of that Friday night.
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Re: Shabbat guest

Postby Sander » Thu Apr 22, 2010 1:48 am

ok, here is situation number three, case studies of shabbat guest etiquette.

You are having a nice meal and somebody asks, "Where were you last shabbat"?

Not that where I was the previous shabbat is a state secret, but this question strikes me as just plain nosy. Its an opening gambit that leads to gossip, because if I answer, "Oh, I was at Mr Levi's house", then follow a bunch of questions like "oh, how is Mr Levi?" and so on.

Now this might seem very benign, but a Shabbat guest, as a matter of survival, must never never never carry news, information, or details from one home to another home. If it ever happens that any of the neighbors suspect that I am repeating any information, they will never trust me in their home.

Over time, if you are visiting shabbat after shabbat, sooner or later you will become privilege to information that belongs within that family and not outside that home. It might be one of the kids misbehaved, or somebody has a "wardrobe malfunction", or whatever. Nothing terrible, but as a shabbat guest my duty is to erase it from my memory.

One time I was asked straight out by the hostess, "Do my kids behave any worse than Mrs ---(name omitted)?" I had to answer bluntly, "I don't tell Mrs --- about your kids, and I don't tell you about hers."
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Re: Shabbat guest

Postby rivka » Thu Apr 22, 2010 4:38 am

Which is a great answer.
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Re: Shabbat guest

Postby Kira » Mon Apr 26, 2010 3:43 pm

It is a good answer, but it is slightly confrontational.

Maybe there's a nicer way to deflect it?

What about a non-answer along the lines of "they are all healthy kinderlach, thank G-d"?

-Kira
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Re: Shabbat guest

Postby LittleGator » Mon May 24, 2010 6:51 pm

I am curious, what would be an appropriate hostess gift and/or dish to bring to a Shabbat meal?
If one was to be so fortunate to be invited. :oops: Please forgive my ignorance on this matter. :oops:

Typically when I go to any kind of dinner I bring a bottle of wine or other type of adult beverage, as long as there are not expected to be any alcoholics present (as it is rather inconsiderate in my eyes). As well as a bottle of sparkling juice of some sort for the children that would be in attendance. Sometimes a side dish. Be it a soup or pasta dish, just something that I know that my children and others will eat. Something that is typically safe like macaroni and cheese, corn on the cob, stuffed shells. Sometimes I bring a dessert that I know will be enjoyed by everyone. It depends on the situation.
Fear and Love
Patience and Restraint
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