This jack knife was once used by the donor’s father on Shabbat to cut the challah. This type of knife, where the blade could be tucked into its case and thus hidden during the grace after meals, was the preferred type of knife for Sabbath meals by many Eastern European Jews because it was preferable not to have a blade on the table during the after dinner prayers. One interpretation for this concept is based on the story of a man who was reciting grace after having eaten dinner when he became so distressed by the thought of the destruction of the Temple while reciting a prayer asking God to restore the destroyed Temple and the city of Jerusalem; that he stabbed himself with a knife left out on the table. Another explanation for the removal or covering of any blades is that the meal table is comparable to the Altar in the Temple that once stood in Jerusalem and just as the use of iron tools to cleave the stones for the Alter is prohibited, metal knives are prohibited while saying grace after meals.
Jackknife for Sabbath Hallah with mother-of-pearl inlay, Collection of Yeshiva University Museum, Gift of Sylvia Axelrod Herskowitz
I met a traveller from an antique land Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the desert … Near them, on the sand, Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown, And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command, Tell that its sculptor well those passions read Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things, The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed: And on the pedestal these words appear: ‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’ Nothing beside remains. Round the decay Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare The lone and level sands stretch far away.”
another regular day at nissen was to unfold as isak stood at the entrance of the school, exhaustion written clear on his face like bold, capital letters that said, ‘this guy probably shouldn’t have partied so hard the past two nights.’ but he did and now he had the largest cup of black coffee in his hand that he made a face at every single time he took a chug in hopes of waking up more. he spots his friends first, near the benches on the west-end of the courtyard, but before he could head over; he moved to the east side of the court to greet his girlfriend who’s currently giggling about whatever first-year girls giggle about. she breaks away from the group and shakes her head disapprovingly,
“i told you not to party so hard last night!” she exclaimed, taking in the sight of his bags and the coffee that hadn’t kicked in yet.
“i know, i know,” isak said with a grin, “but it was a kick ass party, you know. you shoulda came,” he teased, smirking when she cracked a smile. “nei, i actually take my homework seriously, isak.”
isak mocks a face of hurt, “what? and i don’t?” he grins and leans down to steal a kiss.
“you know… there’s a new guy who joined third year. everyone’s talking about it. he’s really hot,” she said with a bright smile. isak rolled his eyes at that, smirking just a bit at her attempt to make him jealous. “if you get a date with him, let me know so i can congratulate you.” he grins when she shoves him, though kisses him once more before running off with her friends.
isak heads on over to his friends, rolling his eyes as they continued to make kissing noises even though the jig was up. “yeah, yeah, whatever.” the boys joke about the previous night, dishing on how magnus looked the worst out of all of them even though he drank the least. once the bell rang, isak headed to his locker to grab his necessary materials.
biology went through fast thanks to sana’s poking and probing of isak’s drinking habits, then the two arguing about which answer was right for their practice test. isak had study hall next, which he used to catch up on his biology homework so he wouldn’t have to do it tonight. —
isak sat amongst his friends, sighing ss the cafeteria increased in a thudding volume. jonas sat down and was immediately looking at isak with wide eyes, “dude!”
isak furrowed his brows, shooting him a questioning look.
“the new guy- oh my god isak, you’ll never believe who it is.”
isak shrugged, clearly confused on why his best friend was acting like he was about to tell the most important news in all history. “isak, it’s even. even is the new transfer from bakka.”
and it was then that isak’s entire world had stopped spinning and began to twirl the other way around. “you’re fucking joking,” isak spat, his eyes widened as he shot a desperate look around for the boy who he– maybe, definitely, really– had a very serious crush on back during summer camp. but isak hadn’t seen even since high school started and the boy went to bakka instead of nissen.
but now he was here. today. at nissen and boy was isak living— and dying at the very same time. it was like the caffeine from the morning’s coffee kicked in all at once and he was suddenly very wired. excitement and anxiety clawed it’s way to his chest and seized his heart which ached to see the boy he had long lost feelings for. his first boy crush, that wasn’t his best friend— because let’s face it,
isak’s crush on jonas was just because jonas was the only one there for him. it was an attention and comfort he’d grown to love and isak tossed those feelings into a romance pile instead of a ‘hey, i have a really amazing best friend’ pile.
“i totally ran into him on my way to chemistry and he remembered me! and he remembers you isak! in fact, you were the first person he asked about. he seemed really eager to see you,” isak had no idea if jonas was trying to be sly or a damn smartass, but whatever it was— jonas lifted isak’s spirits to an all time high and he was sure his best friend was aware of that effect.
isak was barely able to focus in gym, his mind on the thought of seeing even. it caused butterflies to erupt multiple times and it was actually kind of difficult to remember that he had a girlfriend. who had been texting him pretty much all day but isak was too busy daydreaming about seeing even. did he look good? did he smell nice? oh why did he care—
fuck it, isak cared. isak cared a whole lot.
once the school bell rang— indicating that all classes were over and students were dismissed, isak changed back to his burgundy tee, blue adidas bomber jacket that he wore all too often, black skinny jeans and a burgundy cap that held back his golden curls and quickly headed back to study hall because you know, that bih forgot about his textbook.
when eva saw even in the courtyard after school, she just about lost her cool. a total fangirl moment because goddamn– that boy was beautiful. she released a breath as she headed over and started a conversation with him, beyond happy when he recognized her from camp. “have you seen jonas yet? or isak?”
but before that question was to be answered, jonas had walked right up to them with a grin, “i can’t believe you’re here dude it’s been so long.” he smiled as the three briefly chatted about schools and how shitty high school was in general— excluding the parties of course.
“where’s isak?” eva started but jonas just shrugged, “he’s probably–” but it was then he noticed that even was not even listening, nor looking at them. he turned then and what he saw was nothing less than he expected; what he saw caused the brightest smirk there ever was to appear on his face, “speak of the devil,” jonas teased.
with one strap slung over isak’s shoulder, he headed outside, thankful for the breeze that ran through his exposed curls at the nape of his neck. he released a sigh when his phone went off for the hundredth time, he pulled it out with one hand to read texts from emma– all of them stating that she went home early with some friends. isak typed back a teasing response that his ways were ruining her goody-goody status. he pocketed his phone- and it was then he felt eyes on him. he furrowed his brows and glanced up—
and what he saw, was absolutely breathtaking. the brightest blue eyes that caused so much nostalgia and reignited feelings were staring him down; and the lips that had developed into pink plump beauties, had a smile on them that made isak’s whole body go numb. he had stopped in the middle of the courtyard, just admiring his former— and now current crush again, because god damn he looked amazing. stunning. beautiful. perfect. it was hard to breathe. isak released a deep breath, a wide smile on his own face as all the memories they had shared came back into his memory like a hurricane.
isak tilted his head slightly to the side as his eyes flickered from even’s eyes to his physique and back up again. he looked damn good. isak swore this was love at first sight all over again.
jonas heard eva whispering at his side, “what the hell is happening? why are they like… eye fucking each other?” jonas snorted at that observation, though turned when he heard magnus’ voice, “why is the new kid looking at isak like he’s in love and why is isak looking at the new kid like he’s really in love and about to drool at any second,”
“probably because that’s what’s happenin right now,” mahdi commented, earning a wide grin from jonas.
jonas pulled out his phone then and called isak’s number, watching as the boy literally grabbed his phone and answered it without once looking away from even. “hey dude, i know this is like a crazy reunion but wouldn’t it be cool for you to like come over here and say hallah or you guys can keep eye fucking in the middle of campus whatever works,” he shot a grin to eva as he coined her term.
“yeah, right- okay, yeah sounds like a plan,” isak stuttered, a blush on his cheeks as he hung up the phone and headed down the steps and across the courtyard, his eyes finally breaking contact from even’s; though that was short lived because as he approached, he was looking at that boy all over again.
May the new year be like the sweet, round Rosh Hashana Hallah. May it be good and full of sweet surprises, like the raisins hidden in the Hallah. May it bring wholeness, so that we may all live harmoniously within ourselves and with others. May it bring the richness of color, flavor and aroma into our lives. May it bring some holiness into our homes. May it bring us joy, just like when we break Hallah with family and friends. ShanahTova!