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Sunday, May 15, 2005

Captive Audience

We ate at Shabbos lunch at some friends yesterday. While the company was great and the food delicious and plentiful, there was one problem. The meal never ended. We arrived at their house, and waited for our host to seat us and another couple. We sat, and we waited for our host to make kiddush. We made kiddush, and we waited for our host to wash. We washed, and we waited for our host to make motzi. We then waited for the host to sloooowly cut the challah and pass it around. We then waited while our hostess went into the kitchen to BEGIN to prepare the appetizer. (Yeah, I offered to help in the kitchen many times but was unequivocally turned down.) After the appetizer, we waited while our hostess BEGAN to put the main course out on platters. We then ate for about an hour. Then we waited for dessert, then ate dessert. That was the quick part of the meal. We then sat around talking. Don't get me wrong, they are wonderful people and very enjoyable to spend time with. However, if I can't fit in a nap on a Shabbos that is one of the longest of the year, we've been sitting for TOO LONG. By the time my husband started dropping (in my opinion) EXTREMELY obvious hints, our baby was screaming in exhaustion.

Obviously, as all those who are Orthodox out there know, we had to wait to leave until our host began to bentch. Never did the opening strains of "Shir Hamaalot" sound so good.

We returned home FIVE AND A HALF hours after we left.

Anyone else out there ever been at one of these?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL! In my neighborhood, it is a badge of honor to have a long meal. If you get out of somebody's house before 2 PM on Shabbes then you must be bad company and you duck your head down the whole walk home. I'm glad someone else thinks its gotten out of hand! You're always welcome at my house! It might be a bit of a walk but I guarantee to get you out of there in time for a nap! (Thats only because I want one too!)

11:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's how it is at my in-laws. I always figured they were just disorganized....

12:03 PM  
Blogger and so it shall be... said...

One of the shabbosim my family and I spent visiting the suburban Jewish community where we ultimately chose to buy a home, my wife and were warned that people in so&soville don't nap on shabbos, and meals that last until Mincha are the norm -- year round. We silently gasped and hoped for the best.

Yesterday, we left our guests' home after 4 p.m., and only after excusing ourselves to bring my daughter to a friend.

Funy thing is, we wound up at Shalosh Seudos with the person who originally told us to give up napping, and she says she kicks her guests out early these day, she needs her nap.

12:31 PM  
Blogger Renegade Rebbetzin said...

I was once at a FRIDAY NIGHT MEAL in the WINTER that went on until AFTER 11:00. Yes, that meal also lasted for FIVE HOURS (I am still traumatized by this; can you tell)? I even went so far at one point as to say, "Is it ok if we bentch now? I'm completely exhausted, and it's almost 10:00 already." At which point the hostess looked at her watch and said "Oh, it's not that close to 10:00," and COMPLETELY IGNORED MY BLATANT REQUEST TO LEAVE.

*shuddering at the memory*

I suppose I could have just bentched on my own and gotten up and marched out, but I was too much of a wimp....

3:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, yes, and yes again. I have to say though, I am at the whim of my fancy as to whether I will complain or not.

Sometimes 5.5 hours with people I love talking to doesn't seem like enough, and I am disappointed to be going home. Other times I want to fly out the door. Of course, I don't have children yet, so I suspect that the latter will happen more often once I do!

4:56 PM  
Blogger Kiki said...

oh that's ridiclous! we have long meals when we have friends over, but not 5 hours! Everything is always prepared beforehand, and seeing as my hubby can never manage without a shabbat shluff we are always finishes by 3.30. But if people wa tot stay around after that to chill / talk/ hang out, that's fine.

7:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG, I know EXACTLY what you are talking about. There are times when I have to literally say that we need to bench because we want to go. Now. And what about the converse? The guests that never leave your house, even though you benched long ago?

8:11 PM  
Blogger Just Passing Through said...

While I can enjoy a long meal with company, when I'm the host I usually try to bench soon after the meal to provide my guests ample wiggle-room should they wish to leave.

On the flip-side, I know a host who always has people over. Like you said, in some areas its the norm to have extremely looong meals. He just gets up and lets everyone know that while he's going to take a nap, everyone if free to stay and shmooze to their content (and quite frankly, sometimes they DO! -his wife stays up anyway).

So which is worse? :-)

9:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've had it both ways- meals that don't end and guests that won't leave.
I can be social but I've got about a three hour limit.

10:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

isn't shir hamalos sometimes the best shabbos zmira.

10:22 PM  
Blogger Air Time said...

We have been their a few a times, and the thing that always works is telling our host that we need to take our kid to groups/friends house/anywhere.

11:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know what we did before we had kids, they are totally our get out of jail free card.
Bad party?
Lunch too long?
Don't want to come for shabbos?
Blame your kids!

The best part is they don't mind at ALL. In fact my kids are homebodies (like me) so it all works out :)

8:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've also had it both ways; meals that never end and guests who don't leave. And I don't have kids yet so I have no way out! Hosts who don't have things together before the guests arrive are a huge pet peeve!

11:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In my opinion any meal that goes past 2pm on shabbos is grounds to never talk to those people again.

2 hours is more than enough. After all how much loshon horah can you say

4:22 PM  
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