A Shabbat tale by Howard Meyerowitz
Chana Bat Chava and Chava Bat Chana have been friends from the beginning of their lives. They were born at the same time, at sunrise on a bright and beautiful sunlit Sunday autumn morning, in their tiny village near the ocean shore, and from the very first time they met as infants, everyone knew there was going to be something special about their friendship. In the nursery if one girl dropped her rattle the other would pick it up and hand it back. If one hurt herself, the other would immediately offer comfort. Chana Bat Chava had eyes the color of a pale blue sky, and Chava Bat Chana eyes were as deep blue as the sea, and they both enjoyed gazing at the night sky with all that it offered of the moon and the stars.
Of course, each girl developed her own personality. Chana Bat Chava helped the farmers of their village plant and harvest their crops, while Chava Bat Chana tended the animals on the farm. Chana Bat Chava always dressed in blue and wore sandals, which she often wore to the shore, and Chava Bat Chana always dressed in brown and wore sneakers that made it comfortable for her long hikes across the meadows.
Because of their individual love of farming, when a small farm was up for sale they pooled their resources and bought it. The rich fertile soil was plowed and tilled and seeds were planted, and the livestock were lovingly cared for. Fruit trees of various kinds dotted the landscape.
During the year from season to season, the children from the village’s Hebrew day school were invited to help on the farm so they could get a first hand knowledge of how crops are grown and harvested, and as a ‘thank you’ the children were offered food to take home that would be used for Shabbos.
Howard Meyerowitz is a Ledger staff member and a member of Beth El Temple in West Hartford. He lives in Bloomfield with his wife, Susan. The father of two grown daughters, he delights his two grandchildren with his original and imaginative Shabbat tales.
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