Study and Theory/
Sabbath

Abraham Rosenwasser

A Day of Rest and Holiness Have you Granted your Nation

15 Years to Kfar Yehoshua

It was the season of cultivating corn. In the morning, as I travelled to the field, I went to the station, where I took several sacks of supplies, and carried them out of the station. I had planned to bring them back home when I would return at twilight, even if the station is closed at this hour. Several others did the same.

I had worked all day at the ordinary pace for this season. I tried to complete cultivating the plot that same day. In the middle of work, sometime in the afternoon, I suddenly heard the sound of an alarm*. I turned to the village: A fire? There was no smoke to be seen. I halted the mules and thought: What had happened? After all the alarm went off. And then and there I notice the ringing came from Sde Yaacov. I had just remembered: 'It's Friday today, and in Sde Yaacov the alarm is set off over an hour before sunset, which serves as a sign to the workers to cease their work. Shabbat is coming'. I was ashamed of myself. I had yet a few rows to cover, I'll soon be finished, in a few minutes. Around me everyone was ploughing. I beat the mules – hurry!

And I say to myself: 'Unleash the mules and go home, Shabbat is coming!' Another three rows, another two, and around me – everyone is ploughing.

And from my plot I could see Sde Yaacov as clear as the palm of my hand. There stands a man who lives in Sde Yaacov, waiting for Shabbat like for a good guest. With the alarm he halts his work. He rushes home, completes the last yard preparations, he shakes off all tasks – he is free! Behold "a Hebrew farmer in the Land of Israel". In the meantime, I finish my work on the entire plot, unleash the animals and head out for home after sunset. My heart is filled with unspeakable misery. Also my neighbor in the field had just finished sets out behind me. I stop at the station. We rush, help each other, but I'm in a bad mood. My neighbor turns to me: "Did you hear the alarm? I envy the Sde Yaacov people, they're already free by now and enjoy the rest and the Shabbat. And I have yet to remove the sacks from the wagon, to reap vegetables, to milk the cow and to carry the milk to the dairy. When will I be through?" I didn't answer him. We departed, each heading to his yard. It started to get dark. I had a feeling of misery and a heavy heart.

*The alarm going off - in every settlement there was a big bell used for alarms and for alerts and for gatherings.

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