"Oh, you, too."Electricity powers the neighborhood water, so no water, just the weak flow from the emergency tank. OK, I kept waiting and doing what could be done without electricity and without water. Shabbat was getting closer. Report from the neighbors.
"Yes, maybe someone should call the Electric Company."
"It's big, a high tension pole. They're working on it, but it won't go on before Shabbat."
Now this isn't just a homey domestic post more suited to me-ander. This is very serious. Because of Shabbat, there are all sorts of Halachot, Jewish Laws. What can we do in terms of food, cooking, keeping appliances on and off?
I'm not a rabbi and neither is my husband. I welcome expert comments.
I don't have a gas oven nor a cover to put over the gas stove to keep food hot on Shabbat. We use an electric "platta," hotplate. Luckily we boil water for regular (when we're alone or have few guests) Shabbatot in an old kettle. I filled it with bottled mineral water because of the water problems. I finished cooking on the stove, but the vegetables which had been baking in the oven couldn't be finished and were too hot to go into the refrigerator.
The first thing to remember when the electricity is off is not to open the fridge or freezer. Luckily I hadn't put the salad my husband had bought on Thursday in the fridge, so when I made the salad on Shabbat I didn't need to open the door. But I did have to open it to get out the chicken and the soup. Luckily I had separated the soup into two containers, one for Friday night and the rest for the rest of the week. I worked as quickly as I could with the chicken taking out what we were going to eat at night and returned the rest to the no longer so cold refrigerator.
I heated up everything I planned on putting on the platta and had my husband set it up as if there was electricity. It's very well insulated and absorbs the heat from the hot food. I piled the maximum amount of covers I could over the hot food and water. My hope was that the water would still be hot when the electricity came back on. I knew that if that was the case, we'd have hot water for tea on Shabbat and coffee for me in the morning.
I added candles to our table and a 24 hour yartzeit candle nearby, so we'd have light to see our food. We and our guest ate the meal to candle light, romantic they said. We couldn't see each other's wrinkles and grey hair. Only after we finished eating did the electricity return.
Then we could see how correctly (or not) we had set the lights. Some neighbors only discovered that they had left the oven on in the morning. Others were in the dark.
When you find yourself before Shabbat without electricity you should start preparing as early as possible before panic sets in, not to count on the electricity returning in time. It's really necessary for one person to take responsibility to systematically go through the house to try to turn lights on and off according to need. That includes electric boiler. Water heated by electricity is a problem on Shabbat. Many Israelis are used to relying on the solar heater, especially when it's this season and our minds are still used to the summer.
Now, I must admit that we forgot one electric appliance... the TV. Yes, when the electricity went back on, so did the television. I managed to cover the screen with a pillowcase, but as I said in the title of this post:
"Not The Usual Shabbat (Sabbath) Soundtrack"
Shavua Tov and Chodesh Tov
Have a Great Week and Month
ps Nobody's perfect, not even me!