A dog called Shabbat

By C. G. Medina

 

I am in Golders Green. It is Saturday. I see all shops closed and I ask my Jewish friend David, who is with me, why.

“It is the day of rest,” he says.

He explains that on Saturday or Shabbat you shouldn’t touch money. He also explains people here are not using electricity today. They light candles, they pray, they read the Torah. They want to spend a day free of distractions.

It is getting dark. A Jewish orthodox man just got out of his house living the door open. He is coming to talk to us.

“Are you Jewish?” he asks.

This man is asking this because David is wearing jeans and he is not wearing a kippa.

“Yes,” says David.

“In that case” says the man with a smile, signaling his home “I will ask someone else. Shabbat Shalom!”

I don’t understand what just happened. David sees my confusion.

“It is not usual, but I think this man probably wanted someone to turn on the lights for him,” he says.

I remember a day when we went to a Jewish centre and people were standing in front of the lift but they wouldn’t push the lift call button.

“They program everything in advance so the lift will open in all floors. The day before they put a timer switch so the lights in the building turn on when it gets dark”, explained David that day.

“Isn’t that like cheating?” I asked.

“Well,” he said. “We are in the 21th century.”

This man we just saw, I decide, doesn’t have a timer switch.

“What if all people passing by are Jewish?” I ask.

He laughs.

“He could train a dog to push the button for him,” he says.

“How would he call the dog?”

“Shabbat?”

I laugh.

“Would the dog be Jewish?” I ask.

“I don’t know, but I would like to have a dog like that. If somebody asks me if I observe Shabbat, I could watch the dog and say I do”

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