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The bitch who made me break Shabbat

The best laid plans to observe the holy day were ruined by what turned out to be a real bitch

Lately, I’ve been moving toward accepting certain stillnesses that only Shabbat can bring — like walking through the fields at sundown and counting stars on Saturday night.

shabbat kids

No, I’m not ready to guard Shabbat with all my heart, with all my soul, and with all my might…. but I’m at the beginning of a long journey, illuminated by an awareness that keeps me from getting in a car on the walk to Shabbat dinner Friday nights after the candles have been lit.

So last night between patches of moonlight my children and I walked familiar roads from our village home to the kibbutz, when with a sharp bark and a nudge that sent me lurching, a large dog joined our trifecta. My heart stammered when I saw the neurotic gleam in her eye, and felt her breath hot on my hand as she yapped beside me. My son was riding on my shoulders and gripping my head. My daughter clung to my waist. We were a stand of shaking trees while she circled us, barking and eerily grinning, her ears flat and her tail bristling.

We couldn’t go backward. We couldn’t go forward. The roads were black and empty, Shabbat had spread its peaceful wings over our village and everyone but us was wrapped inside their homes in a golden embrace.

I tried shouting but no one could hear. Or no one could be bothered.

And then, shattering the stillness of the Sabbath night, our neighbors car rattled down the road, high-beams vying for attention with the moon and winning. The dog ran off and we jumped inside hurtling toward a peaceful night.

About the Author
Sarah Tuttle-Singer, Times of Israel's New Media editor, lives in Israel with her two kids in a village next to rolling fields. Sarah likes taking pictures, climbing roofs, and talking to strangers. She is the author of the book Jerusalem Drawn and Quartered. Sarah is a work in progress.