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Study and Theory/

Henia Shulamy

The Completion of Work is Far from Us

From a Pamphlet in her Memory

What is my Shabbat? Firstly, I get up an hour or a half an hour later than usual. The table with its white tablecloth greets me. I go to the cowshed, and sit down to milk quietly, looking at the cows, speaking to them a bit. Naturally, on weekdays this is impossible.

With that same special silence, I go to the chicken coop, and they seem to all be glad that I have the time to look at them and to speak to them. And if I go down to get some vegetables, isn't it a with a different gait than that of weekdays.

I get closer to look at the vegetables I planted yesterday, their absorption, their germination. Here and there I pull out some weeds – isn't this some type of "enjoying the Shabbat"? We eat breakfast together, and actually eating together is a Shabbat-way of having a meal – when else do we have time for this? And if after breakfast I do something quietly, isn't this a continuation of experiencing Shabbat?

And if I go out in front of the house*, everything looks different. Yesterday, in my haste, I didn't realize that a tree needed hoeing and another one needed trimming. Isn't this a richer Shabbat than one of "Tzena Urena"**?

And as to our children- we shall try to give them contents fitting all days of the week. We shall teach them to honor our work – the weekday tasks – and thereby I am sure that when Shabbat arrives, they will greet it with many insights. They shall be the second generation of redemption; the work shall not bother them too much and therefore they will have the time to add on to Shabbat.

It's too soon to seek contents for our "Shabbats", since we still have a long way to go to complete the work we have begun.


*the front of the house – that was the name given in the village to the yard surrounding the living quarters.

**"Tzena Urena" - is a book for women in the Diaspora. A popular translation of the Bible containing legends and parables.

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