Many of my friends stop making chicken soup for their Friday night Shabbos (the Jewish sabbath) meal when the weather gets too hot. Not me.
My children would tell me that it doesn’t feel like Shabbos without the chicken soup. So, chicken soup graces our Shabbos table, rain or shine, winter or summer. Somehow, our Shabbos table is so much like the chicken soup itself.
We are commanded to eat three festive meals on Shabbos, because food creates simcha (joy) and the most spiritual day of the week should be joyful.
So, our Shabbos table is a potpourri of food, stories, ideas from the weekly parsha sedra (Torah portion) and zemiros (Shabbos songs). We share experiences from the week, inspirations, ideas and lots of laughs. Most of all, it is a way for our neshoma (soul) to gain inspiration from the food, Torah ideas and camaraderie around the table.
This Erev Shabbos (Sabbath eve), Davida will be arriving home from camp for a day off and Leah will be arriving home from a mini vacation in Vermont. It will take some extra time for them to refresh themselves before Shabbos after time spent in the great outdoors. I can’t wait to share these uniquely summer experiences with them around the table.
In the same way, our chicken soup gains inspiration from the uniquely summer experiences of the week. Today, my chicken soup has some extra ingredients that will be so reminiscent of the great summer outdoors. Yesterday, the McCarthys dropped off some more delicious produce (and even some cookbooks). Some of their garden produce will flavor our soup. Dorothy and Patrick sent over a surprise thick-skinned white squash and we will add their early garlic and other squashes.
This will be a chicken soup to remember, one that is uniquely summer and one that will nourish and inspire our body and soul.