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Kavod Shabbat

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On Friday evening, Padmé carefully washes her face free of its white powder and red highlights, squeezes Sabé's shoulder in farewell and thanks as they switch places, and slips out a side door of the palace to lose herself in the crowds of people heading home after a long day of work.

Her parents’ house is a good half-hour’s walk away but the weather is beautiful, so she takes her time on the familiar route, stopping to smell flowers in window boxes and to enjoy the cool breeze on skin mercifully free of heavy draped cloth.

Padmé is the last to arrive, and has to endure some friendly ribbing from her sister Sola, four months pregnant and impatient for dinner.

The sun’s last rays stream softly through the window as the Naberrie family gathers around the table. Padmé’s mother lights the candles, and then covers her eyes to recite the blessing. Padmé closes her eyes as well. She feels Sola catch her hand on one side, and reaches out for her father on the other. He pulls her close, and she sighs, letting her worries about the state of the planet drain away.

Her father pours wine for the family, with the exception of Sola, who makes a face at the berry juice in her glass. Together, they raise their glasses and sing the blessing over the wine, Sola’s clear soprano mixing beautifully with their father’s resonant bass. Padmé herself can barely hold a tune, and her mother isn’t much better, but they still pray with loud enthusiasm and gratitude.

Padmé sips her wine and savors the sweetness on her tongue. It’s one of her favorites, made from the fruit of a local vineyard. She always prefers Naboo wines to those imported from offworld - they taste of home in a way that the others don’t.

Sola plucks the cover off of the challah with a dramatic flourish, and curtseys at Padmé’s obliging applause. Padmé is the first to reach out and tear off a chunk. The yeast-y, egg-y scent fills her nose, and she smiles.

They pray once more, giving thanks for the bread from the earth, and then Padmé stuffs the challah into her mouth, starving after a long day of meetings with various heads of state. Her mother tsks at her lack of manners, but after a full week of diplomatic meals requiring more silverware than Padmé had realized the palace even owned, she needs a break from proper decorum.

As they settle down for dinner, Padmé allows herself to relax fully. She has no official duties to perform here, no facade to maintain. Nothing to do but enjoy her day of rest in the company of her family.

shabbat purimgifts