Those who don’t know me very well tend to be surprised to find out what an introvert I really am. I do fine in big groups of new people, I am chatty and usually pretty friendly and have (erm) dominated probably more than one dinner party in my life. (Or maybe just that last one–but in my defense, the table was almost all mathematicians, not as a collective the most talkative group you might ever find.)
But I get peopled out very quickly, and after a short stint in the social zone I need to run home and hide, stare at the walls in silence for a few hours before I’m fit for the world again. I tend to need quite a bit of solitude to keep my batteries full and operational.
In this respect I find the hagim very challanging, maybe even (possibly) more challanging than all the introspection a person’s supposed to do–after all, introspection can be done alone, staring at the walls. Two days of Rosh Hashonah–even if I only do dinners, not lunches–plus a full day in shul on Yom Kippur (being in shul counts as peopley, because however in the zone you can get, there are still lots and lots of other humans around) and then the nonstop action of Sukkot…. it’s a lot. This Shabbos/hag I had both dinner and lunch meal plans (which I almost never do–one big meal on Shabbat is dandy, but then you need something quiet to balance it out) and a houseguest, who was great. But that was followed immediately by a 9-person dinner Sunday night (the mathematicians). Tonight and tomorrow I’m going to be up visiting family in Haifa, then Thurz there’s a big dinner, and then who knows what’s up for the end-of-Hag festivities. Last night was supposed to be the big night of downtime, but someone who just got to town wound up needing to come over and use the internet, so… there you go.
I love the hagim. Truly, madly, deeply. I know that I’m not the only one who sometimes feels a bit overwhelmed by their end. I just wish there was more time for a person to catch her breath inside them. I’m sure there’s some great Torah to be had about the compressed feeling of the hagim, I just haven’t come up with it yet. Any takers?
I know the feeling.
It’s all your fault, you know. People seem to think that having a social life is a requirement for survival. It’s not. All those dinners, family visits, houseguests you choose to attend. No one forces you to go at gunpoint. Then plop a good book next to your plate at dinner at home, and have an intelligent conversation with it. Much more satisfying. And far less expensive, too.
Of course, perhaps I’m overstating the case. I’m even less talkative than those mathematicians.
My fault?? Well, that’s a little harsh. These are the Hagim–the Jewish holidays–and not only does observing them properly entail lots of time in synagogue and at communal events, it’s what I want. I do love community, and am happy to celebrate the holidays in community–dancing at Simchat Torah, sitting in the sukkah, beating the willows at minyan on Hoshannah Rabbah, gathering with people for Rosh Hashonah meals (and Sukkot meals) and so forth. Which, even building in solitude here and there, still winds up being pretty social. And yes, I choose to have that experience, and I’m not sorry, but I do also find it challenging sometimes because it’s not in the flow of my natural tendency, that’s all I’m sayin’. In general, I tend towards fairly quiet Shabbatot, either with just one big social meal or none (alone, or just hanging out with maybe one other friend or whatever). And that’s fine, too. *shrug*