Shoshi’s Shab­bat

  • Review
By – July 5, 2023

Shoshi’s Shab­bat teach­es about rest, respect, and grat­i­tude by way of a midrash that con­nects dif­fer­ent cul­tures. It tells the tale of Shoshi, an ox who six days a week pulled the heavy plow through farmer Shimon’s fields. On the sev­enth day, Shab­bat, both Shi­mon and Shoshi rest­ed.” When Shi­mon grows too old to con­tin­ue work­ing, he sells Shoshi to his non-Jew­ish neigh­bor, Yohanan, who does not observe Shab­bat. For the first six days, all goes well: Shoshi plows the field with­out giv­ing her new own­er any trou­ble. Then the sev­enth day arrives, and Shoshi stub­born­ly refus­es to work. This con­tin­ues for sev­er­al weeks, and Yohanan can­not under­stand why his new ox refus­es to pull the plow — until he sees Shi­mon observ­ing Shab­bat and real­izes that the ox deserves a day of rest as well. As time pass­es, Yohanan rec­og­nizes the val­ue of this sacred pause. He, his fam­i­ly, and his ani­mals take a break from their reg­u­lar work, instead giv­ing thanks on the sev­enth day of each week.

With beau­ti­ful acrylic illus­tra­tions, this book is per­fect for a snug­gly bed­time sto­ry or a class­room read-aloud. By read­ing it with chil­dren, busy adults may learn the impor­tance of a des­ig­nat­ed day of rest, too.

Paula Chaiken has worked in a vari­ety of capac­i­ties in the Jew­ish world — teach­ing in reli­gious school, curat­ing at the Sper­tus Muse­um and fundrais­ing for the Fed­er­a­tion — for more than twen­ty years. She also runs a bou­tique pub­lic rela­tions con­sult­ing firm and enjoys read­ing all sorts of books with her three sons.

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