I like cookbooks that keep me in the kitchen for as short as possible, as opposed to those with recipes that call for mutiple bowls and 20 “simple steps” that take about three hours to complete. But even with all the shortcuts, whenever I have guests, I find myself spending hours peeling, chopping, frying, slicing, pouring and many more verbs. And sometimes it’s hard, and I need some motivation to keep me going in the kitchen.

So I think of Abba Chelkia and his wife.

Abba Chelkia was a great man. When there was a drought in the land of Israel, the sages approached Abba Chelkia and asked him to pray for rain, hoping that, in his merit, G‑d would end the drought. Abba Chelkia and his wife climbed onto the roof to pray—and before long, clouds appeared above his wife’s head. The sages asked, “Why did the rain clouds come from your wife’s side?”

Abba Chelkia answered, “My wife stays home and fixes warm meals. When the poor and needy come to the house, she gives them food, and this satisfies them immediately. I only give the poor money, with which they have to purchase food and prepare it on their own. It is in her merit that G‑d sent rain to the people.”

I remind myself that it is only a finished meal that can calm a rumbling stomach, and though it takes effort, I keep cooking.

Thoughtstream: Today, I will appreciate how much G‑d values my healthful, nourishing food that I prepare for guests and family.

(Adapted from El Nishei U’Bnot Yisroel, p. 266; Taanit 23b.)