I've never had a problem going to a restaurant after Friday night services. I'm with my friends and we're communicating and enjoying ourselves; this is a big part of what Shabbat is about. (Tonight, in fact, I was out until 11 with great people and conversation.) But it doesn't seem right on nights when I help lead. On those nights I want to sit down at a table in a real home, make motzi, wash, do kiddush. I suddenly want a close family, a deficit I rarely think about these days. And I also feel a responsibility to perform the rituals; I've just stood in front of my community and prayed, and therefore have become a role model, whether I like it or not. What I do on my own time need not have any bearing. But I feel as if it should.
I don't yet know what to do about this new unease, which is making me sad in equal proportion to the joy I've experienced from leading. I certainly don't have the energy to cook and invite people over on those nights. I'll figure it out.
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