Simcha is usually translated from Hebrew as happiness. I prefer to think of it as joy. I don’t know if an English scholar would agree, but in my mind, happiness is fleeting while joy, even when other events or the passage of time overtakes it, leaves a lasting impression. Eating ice cream makes me happy, but I can summon up the emotional atmosphere of eating ice cream with a good friend long after the treat has been consumed.
We have been blessed with a wonderfully busy summer. It began with the birth of a healthy baby grandson and ended with another similar gift. In between the two births, we celebrated the weddings of two of our children. While our basement flooding was not a highlight of the season, the tireless support of our son-in-law and grandsons in toting, carrying and sorting pounds of water-laden possessions certainly was.
A question mark hung over our annual week of Grandma Camp. Would I get it together in time to follow the tradition of it being a summer event or would we need to shoot for winter camp this year? Would the final baby of summer arrive on time and take priority or would he wait just a bit longer? He waited!
Eventually, it all came together. The five attendees looked much older and more mature than they appear in the photos of last year’s Grandma Camp. I had a wonderful time spending the week with them. Since camp was at the end of the summer instead of its usual early July date, the fall holy days were just around the corner. I delighted in teaching the girls how to bake a traditional family recipe for Rosh HaShana.
I try to make mandlen (translated as soup nuts but bearing no relationship to items of that name in the supermarket) each year for the beginning of the new Jewish year. I inherited the recipe I use, and a bite transports me to my grandmother’s teensy Brooklyn kitchen where love was an ingredient in every morsel. When my mother-in-law shared her favorite recipes with me, the same recipe was in that treasure trove as well. Isn’t this photo where they are making mandlen wearing their personally designed aprons wonderful?
While one of my daughters, who as of yet has no children of her own, joked about child labor, seeing these little girls take their place in a chain of transmission of Torah, tradition, and, yes, food, brought great joy to me. May the coming year bring joy along with health, prosperity, peace, family and friendship to all of my treasured Musings readers.