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.