Magic and Shabat Dinners

Friday night family dinners have been a tradition in our family as they are in many Jewish families. I remember taking our kids one Friday to my parents home, and the alternate Friday we would go to Phil’s parents home. Then came the time when our mothers couldn’t handle it anymore and I took over. When Julie got married they came to me one Friday and to her mother-in -laws the other Friday.   I was the only sibling left in Quebec in my family and Phil was the only one in  his family. Then about a month ago my daughter Julie said it’s her time to take over. I didn’t think it was necessary but she insisted and I felt guilty for about two weeks and now I am enjoying it immensely, and her mother-in-law seems to be enjoying it too, along with the other family members. Her young children help her set the table and we can enjoy them instead of being busy with the meal.

So what’s the relationship between Friday night dinners and magic, you might ask. When my daughter took over she said, “I’m happy to do it, but I am not making chicken soup with matzo balls and chicken. I like to experiment with food and try new stuff. It’ll be kosher, but it won’t be traditional.” That was fine with us, although with her permission I sometimes make chicken soup and Matzo balls and bring it over as my grandson loves it.

Last Friday night she attempted a Mexican Stew. It was delicious but before we even sat down she warned us that it did  not turn out the way it was supposedd to. Said she was disappointed. She used too much coconut milk so it took away from the spicyness etc. etc. and it should have this flavour but it has that flavour and on and on. We all thought it was great.

Being in the magic business, I could not help but relate it to performing magic. That’s why its a good idea never to tell your audience what is about to happen. You never really know what it going to happen. You only know what is supposed to happen. Let’s say you have worked out a routine, whereby you are on stage and produce a bouquet of flowers that turns into a dove. The flower production in itself is excellent but for some reason you can’t produce the dove. Do you get flustered and try to retrieve the dove again? Some might. You might fail again and the audience would know something is awry. If you had just forgot about it after the first attempt, and taken your bow as they were still clapping for the flower production, it might not have been such an extraordinary production as you would have liked, but the audience didn’t know that a bird was supposed to appear. They were happy with the flowers. Sure it would have been great had the flowers turned into a bird and even greater if the bird turned into two birds but you and the bird are the only two beings on the planet that knew that that was supposed to happen and the bird wasn’t telling.

I told my daughter not to fret over it, That she shouldn’t even have mentioned it. Her dinner was delicious “as is” and that she sounded like a magician explaining a failed trick, that the audience thought was a success.

Maybe I have been in the business too long!

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