Friday, May 30, 2014

Beginning ~ with The Kiss

Pitching My Tent: On Marriage, Motherhood, Friendship, and Other Leaps of Faith ~ by Anita Diamant, 2003, essays
Every Friday night, I kiss my husband.  No matter how tired we are.  No matter what dreadful things we said to each other earlier in the day.  No matter what.  The kiss is neither perfunctory nor passionate.  And yet, even when there are six other people in the room, it is intimate.

All week long, a kiss is just a kiss.  But our Friday-night kiss is something else.  It acknowledges a connection that is ultimately as mysterious as any sunset, as sacred as any psalm.

This is a ritual kiss.  It takes place in the dining room, immediately after we light two new, white candles and sing the blessing that marks the beginning of Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath.  Candles and kiss are followed by blessings over wine and bread.
Yesterday, I took three boxes of books to trade at the big used book store in town.  I came home with this book.  I've read Diamant's novels The Red Tent (1997), Good Harbor (2001), and Day After Night (2009), so I know she's an excellent writer.  I look forward to digging into this book, after I get moved to St. Louis this weekend.  Here's a description:
Before The Red Tent, before Good Harbor, before and during six books on contemporary Jewish life, Anita Diamant was a columnist.  Over the course of two decades, she wrote essays about friendship and family, work and religion, ultimately creating something of a public diary reflecting the shape and evolution of her life as well as the trends of her generation.  Pitching My Tent collects the finest of these essays, all freshly revised, updated, and enriched with new material, forming a cohesive and compelling narrative.

Organized into six parts, the shape of the book reflects the general shape of adult life, chronicling its emotional and practical milestones.  There are sections on marriage and the nature of family ("Love, Marriage, Baby Carriage"); on the ties that bind mother and child ("My One and Only"); on the demands and rewards of friendship ("The Good Ship"); on the challenges of balancing Jewish and secular calendars ("Time Wise"); on midlife ("In the Middle"); and on what it means to embrace Judaism in today's culture ("Home for the Soul").
The word "Shekhinah," the rabbinic term for God's presence on earth, is from a Hebrew verb meaning "to pitch one's tent" (according to Karen Armstrong's book The Case for God, p. 376).  Is this related in any way to Diamant's title?  I hope the book gives me a clue.




Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays.  Click here for today's Mister Linky.

4 comments:

Tea norman said...

That is so special. Lighting the candles and that one special kiss of the week. It seems wonderful.:)

Katherine P said...

I haven't come across this other but the excerpt is intriguing. I love how she describes the ritual both personal and religious.

gautami tripathy said...

This sounds good to me. Happy reading!

Here is my Book Beginning post!!

AND

Here is my Friday 56 post!!

Gilion Dumas said...

I like her writing but wasn't wild about The Red Tent. I think I might prefer her non-fiction.

Thanks for sharing the beginning on BBOF!