Working On Saturday?
On friday Jan. 20, it snowed during the night. For weeks, the midwest US had been blessed with warmer weather. No snow for weeks. Only rain. Winter had become a memory.
The earth seems to be warming up. Maybe it's G-d giving us 'el nino' warm weather. Maybe its man's use of fossil fuels polluting the earth and shrinking the earth's ozone. Because of the warmer weather, bills for heating my apartment buildings have been much less. Even including the winter hikes in gas and electric; the bills have been much less then usual.
Last friday, it finially snowed. I was happy to be with my kids outside. Saturday was the perfect opportunity to take my kids sledding in the snow.
I'm a traditional Jewish man. I keep the laws of Torah. I observe keeping shabbos, which means no working from friday nite till saturday nite.
After spending saturday afternoon sledding with my kids, we came back to the house and finished shabbos eating dinner. We sang the 'shabbat shalom' song. Another Shabbos was finished. Later that nite, I went to play my messages from my office answering machine. I don't use the phone on shabbos. I let the answering machine get it. Only if its an emergency will I use the phone or answer work related calls.
There was a message from Mrs. Feinstein. She's an elderly Jewish lady, living in one of my buildings. The message was as follows, "It snowed on friday nite. I've waited all day saturday and nobody has shoveled the sidewalks or stairs. Your run a terrible business. The previous landlord shoveled the sidewalks on the weekends. You can't come out on saturday and shovel the sidewalks?"
I called Mrs. Feinstein back and told her I am shoveling the sidewalks clear on sunday. I told her I'm Jewish and I don't work on saturday because its shabbos, the day of rest.
The elderly tenant started screaming at me. She said she was Jewish and she worked all the time on shabbos.
I said, "Well, thats your choice. I'm a traditional Jew. I don't work on shabbos."
Changing the subject, Mrs. Feinstein said, "why did you move all the bikes to the other side of the basement?"
I told her, "I moved all the bikes to the other side of the basement because I built a storage room where they used to be."
She kept up the questions. She said, "can't you come out and move the bikes back?"
"No," I said. "Its my building and my land. I can do with it as I wish. I had to build a storage room to store the equipment and machines that I need to manage the building properly."
With that Mrs. Feinstein backed off. Realizing that I was a landlord who takes charge, she finially started to understand. "Ok," she said, "You seem to know your business better then me."
"Yes, thank you for understanding, I said.
"I didn't know before why the snow was not cleared away, but now I understand," she said. "I respect that you don't work on saturday. I didn't understand that before you called."
"No problem, Mrs. Feinstein. I'm glad we could clear this up," I said.
I hung up the phone, and I smiled. Maybe I shed some light in the mind of an assimilated Jew. Who knows, maybe I planted the seed in her head, to respect our deep Jewish traditions. Keep the shabbos and be a proud Jew.