Putting Chabad Houses in Proportion

Since I didn’t have any work to do today, I decided to spend my Shabbat relaxing. It wasn’t exactly a conscious decision as I was asleep until about noon, but it was as relaxing as it could be, I guess. I did something that I don’t normally do on Saturdays, but should more often: go to the Chabad House for Shabbat lunch.

I got there, and I didn’t even know anyone was there – that is, until I heard children’s voices, then Rabbi’s head poking around the corner, saying “come join us!” I stepped in, and to my astonishment, instead of the normal four or five tables, they only had one set up, with 13 seats around it – exactly enough for everyone, once I was there. As the semester has ended as well as finals, just about everyone who can leave the frozen tundra of Madison (even if it’s for the frozen tundra of Milwaukee or Minneapolis) has done so. The diners assembled consisted of myself, the rabbi, his wife and three kids, four workers at Epic (who apparently never have vacation time, ever), and two other students who have chosen/were forced to stay in town until next week. Every time a new conversation started, so did a new round of screaming started, either by oldest boy who should know better, the middle boy who doesn’t know better, or the baby who’s a baby. And a sick baby (yeah, I don’t know either…). Usually once one started, another would join in yelling and screaming for no apparent reason and usually in a dissonant manner, and right behind my head. And of course, the rabbi’s response is timid laughter, unlike what I would say, which would not be appropriate to say in front of children that age, which is why I am not their father.

He also said, “Isn’t it funny, that the smaller the crowd, the louder the children?” Well, rabbi, you and I have different concepts of “funny,” but it’s actually kind of true. Back in Houston, I knew that whenever the children outnumbered the adults, it meant we were in for six more weeks of whining, and I was out of there.

Which brings me to the topic of today’s post:

Putting Chabad Houses In Proportion

The older the rabbi, the more awesome he is.

The younger the rabbi, the more he thinks he’s a college student.

The greasier the food, the better the cooking.

The sugarier the desserts, the colder the climate.

The prettier the sheitl, the more adult children of the rebbetzin.

The more the children, the higher the likelihood you’ll leave with a runny nose, a cough, pinkeye, or streptococci.

The nicer the silverware, the more the donors.

The more plastic on the table, the more drunk college students.

The more the alcohol…yeah, that doesn’t mean much.

The more decrepit the house, the more like home away from home it actually is, regardless of what you’re used to at home.

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