There's an old Yiddish idiom that "deh cholent kimpt arois azoy vie de gasten"--loosely translated, your cholent will turn out as good as your guests. Bad guests equal bad cholent, good guests equal good cholent.
That idiom has been somewhere in the back of my mind but I don't take it out every week to check on the condition of the cholent made. Shmini Atzeres, however, the idiom came out front and center. I had a full house for Shabbos lunch and cholent was on the menu. Lunch was a lively, friendly affair that lasted until 3:30. Everyone seemed to be having a really good time. I was a happy hostess. And then I noticed the cholent pot. I have never seen a cholent pot that empty--it almost could have gone back into the cupboard without washing, it was scraped that clean. And there were disappointed faces that there wasn't still a spoon or two or three remaining. Even as my company left motzoai yom tov they were still rhapsodizing about that cholent.
So to my guests, thank you for being wonderful guests and for making yom tov so special with your presence. And thank you, because if the cholent came out well, it is all to your credit.
It sounds like a nice meal, but what is the big deal about cholent? I mean it's beans that have been boiled to death for a day. I can never understand why the men fight for the portions at a shul kiddush.
thanks for having us! it was fun....
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