Recently, on Shabbos, I’m one of the last people to wash for challah.
I come into the dining room to a full table of guests.
There are two more people in the kitchen washing for hamotzei, and 14 of us around the table.
My children are, for once, miraculously silent, mostly fidgeting in their seats, eyeing the food already on the table.
I look around the table, smiling at my oldest daughter, sitting perfectly tall and straight.
My other daughter has sequestered a bowl of olive dip next to her plate.
Across from me, I see my friend who has joined us for lunch grasp her teenage daughter’s hand next to her and give it a squeeze.
I realise I just saw a moment of connection between two people, which needed no words.
Further down the table, I see two teenage boys examining the cutlery, as if unsure of what to do in this silence.
Those few minutes between washing and making hamotzei on the challah are the only silent moments of lunch.
The rest is filled with laughter and noisy conversation, interspersed with singing and kids performing.
Silence is a funny thing.
We are so uncomfortable with it, filling our days with mindless chatter or background music.
We seek to fill the gaps in conversation with trivialities that no one really cares about, or even worse, awkward social blunders that we recall later in embarrassment.
But looking around the Shabbos table, I realise that silence can be a beautiful thing.
We are 16 human beings, 16 souls, joining together to celebrate Shabbos.
All of us waiting to make a special blessing over two loaves of challah.
For three minutes, we sit together in silence.
Words are unnecessary.
We are connected by what we are here to experience.
A Shabbos meal.
Temmi Hadar was born and raised in Seattle in a family of 10, Temmi Hadar is currently living in Joburg trying to stay sane and spiritual as a wife, mother, teacher, rebbetzin and human.