Thou Shalt Not Covet

For years, I coveted.  There I admitted it. I know, I know the 10th commandment is Thou Shalt Not Covet and yet for years I couldn’t help myself. After my paternal grandmother died, my parents brought her white Rosenthal China in the Classic Rose Maria pattern– to our home and I absolutely loved it. I wanted it for myself and begged to have it. It brought back memories of spending time in my grandmother’s fourth floor walk up apartment in New York City. My grandmother had been an observant Jew and a kosher caterer in the 1960’s. Her food looked and smelled delicious and those dishes reminded me of meals shared with her in that small apartment. I coveted those dishes for more than twenty years and this week, after all these years, my stepmother had them painstakingly packed, which apparently took more than 4 hours so that UPS could feel confident they would arrive unharmed, and sent them to me.

Three massive cardboard boxes, big enough to hold my children, arrived on Tuesday. I knew they were coming but the excitement was still palpable. It has been so long since I have actually seen the dishes in person. After all these years, I honestly couldn’t remember what they looked like, until I unpacked that first group of plates, tripled layered in bubble wrap from their cross country trip. They look like I remembered, twelve sided plain white plates with an embossed flower patter, though a few have some chips and blemishes.

Immediately, I wanted to say the Shehecheyanu Prayer, a prayer Jews say when they arrive at a special occasion or time . The prayer is:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֶלוֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הַעוֹלָם שֵהֵחְיָנוּ וְקִיְמָנוּ וְהִגִיעָנו לַזְמַן הַזֶה

Blessed are You, Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe, who has granted us life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this occasion.

The Shehecheyanu prayer gives us an opportunity to give thanks for reaching a special moment in time. For me this moment deserved more than just a moment of gratitude it deserved several moments of time, to reflect what it must have been like for my grandmother to buy this set of dishes, still highly valuable at today’s standards and probably something she worked very hard to earn in her days. I will use them and think of my grandmother and the nourishment we both provide our families to sustain and nurture ourselves. This set of dishes will be a reminder of my family lineage and one I am delighted to finally put to good use.

Thank you God for letting me reach this wonderful occasion. I will covet no more!

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