Monday, February 14, 2011

Shaky Beginning Part II: I really DID set my kitchen on fire

When we left frazzled-never-made-chatzos-before-me, I was crying over challah that wouldn't rise and wondering if my family would notice if I served matza for Shabbos.  After I tossed all five pounds of challah dough, pouted about my first attempt to be early, and ate a lot of babka, I thought through what I was really doing with this whole chatzos thing.  Was it really worth it?

A very wise rebbitzen told me once that the yetzer hara works the hardest against the most precious mitzvos.  That is to say, sometimes we encounter more obstacles (internal and external) when we are doing something truly worthwhile (you know, "a good deed never goes unpunished" and all of that).  Why?  That is the yetzer hara's way of keeping us from doing great things. 

A concrete example: Bob REALLY wants to keep kosher.  He takes all of the steps-- stops mixing milk and meat, stops eating shellfish, bacon, even switches his kitchen over.  But Bob has a LOVE for Jumbo Jack combos* (with curly fries and a coke)** from Jack in the Box.  But Bob WANTS to keep kosher!  Bob decides that he can do this whole kosher thing, he only need to make every effort to avoid Jack in the Box.  The problem is, Jack in the Box starts showing up EVERYWHERE.  At work.  At friend's homes.  He can't escape the yummy smell of the perfect curly fries.  Bob is forced to make a choice: give in to the temptation ("it is just ONE french fry! What is inherently unkosher about a fried potato?") or stand up to the challenge (which seems insurmountable-- this is his all time favorite food!).  And that is how the yetzer hara wins-- only one little thing that, really, isn't THAT bad v. a MAJOR challenge. 

When I was sitting in front of my dead dough, I knew that this is how the yetzer hara wins.  I knew that, in order to make another batch of dough before Thursday night, I would have to make an extra stop at the grocery store (easier said than done with two small kids and a resident husband).  I knew it would be worth it and I resolved to get it done.  I would overcome the yetzer hara!  And then the "one small thing" popped up: it started to rain.  Not just any rain-- real HOUSTON rain.  Well, that was it.  I couldn't possible drag the baby out in the rain for an extra shopping trip when I would also have to go out the next day to get the rest of the Shabbos food.  That just wouldn't be fair to her.  No.  I would just make the challah early in the day on Thursday.  That would have to be good enough.

Perhaps getting it done early in the day would have been good enough, but I didn't.  I waited.  And waited.  I didn't even get to the grocery store until mid-afternoon.  I didn't start cooking until after the kids were in bed (challah included).  And I didn't go to bed until 3 am (and I didn't even finish cooking everything; the challahs DID look lovely, though).  So much for getting things done early. 

On Friday morning, I found myself in a typical position: two salads to make, a cake to bake, a kitchen to clean (BIG time-- dishes everywhere), and all of the other random house chores to get done.  Yetzer hara: 1, me: 0. 

The fire came about mid-morning.  I had a cake cooling on an oven mitt that was sitting on a burner.  Because I was exhausted and because it was yuck out, I decided that I needed a cup of tea.  I put the tea kettle on, turned on the burner, and sat down at my computer to try to get "some things done" (read: check Facebook).  I smelled something funny coming from the kitchen, but didn't think anything of it.  Maybe I got food on the burner when I was cooking?  But then, when my water wasn't whistling and the house was filled with smoke, I realized what I had done.

B"H, the only casualty was the oven mitt (a lot of scrubbing later, the bunt pan and stove top were as good as new).  Somewhere in the middle of scrubbing the ash and soot off of everything in my kitchen, I thought to myself, "You know, this wouldn't have happened if I had Shabbos ready by chatzos." 

Watch out, yetzer hara!  I am not going to let you get by me again!  

* No!  I am not speaking from experience!  Even pre-kosher, I never STOOPED to Jack in the Box!  I mean, ew.
** Okay.  You got me.  I am Bob.

No comments:

Post a Comment