I think many of us have a hard time ‘accepting’ all of the rules and regulations of whatever religion we might follow. In Judaism, many of these laws are interpretations of Scripture, handed down by various Rabbinical ‘Authorities’, rather than from the Source itself.One of these ‘laws’ regulates who may do the work of a Jew on the Sabbath. It is forbidden for observant Jews to work on the seventh day, to drive in a vehicle or to use electricity. The Bible itself says that ‘even your donkey shall rest on the Sabbath’… but the Rabbis say that a non-Jew can perform certain tasks. This person in Eastern Europe was referred to as a ‘Shabbos-Goy’… an ugly, bigoted expression that has always made my skin crawl. It is a concept that I never accepted and never will.Many public institutions in Israel and in other Jewish communities hire non Jews for the sole purpose of being available on the Sabbath. Most hospitals and hotels have, what is known as, a Shabbat elevator. These stop at every floor, making it unnecessary for the person to press any buttons.About three years ago I was at a hotel with a friend of mine. At dinner time we were waiting for the ‘Shabbat elevator’ to take us down to the dining area. It never came….. My friend went to the reception area to see if there was a problem, and returned with a ‘Shabbos-Goy’…I was furious…. Not because there was not a Shabbat elevator, but because my friend insulted me by returning with this person. It was an indication, that after a 20 year friendship, he did not know me at all. I told him to take the stairs and I would meet him in the dining room. I told the ‘button pusher’ that his services were not necessary as I would do it myself. He rode with me and we talked… he was a Muslim from a nearby village. His name was Muhammad. He instantly became my friend and his reaction towards my attitude made him feel like a human being, not like a ‘Shabbos-Goy’. I have been a guest at that hotel many times since this happened, Muhammad always makes sure I receive the best service available. I have been to his home, met his family, he has been to my home and met my family. Last year he was married and I was invited to his wedding, where I was seated with his parents at the family table. Yesterday he called to tell me that they were expecting a son shortly and insists that I be the child’s Godfather. This is a position usually reserved for a member of the family. I was so honoured by the offer and accepted without hesitation.All this because I treated this young man as a human being, as an equal to myself. He thought that was something special, and that I was special…this is what saddens me, that this is not looked at as the norm…. hopefully one day soon it will. It is one of the roads to peace… acceptance of one another.


  1. Dusty Dog said,

    October 23, 2005 at 17:13

    Oh migod, I cannot even tell you, I do not have to tell YOU, how much I wish that humanitarian behavior is the norm. Why are humans so incapable of being humanitarian? Why is hate so much the norm? Why? she asked so naively………… *sigh*

  2. DesertPeace said,

    October 24, 2005 at 12:10

    That’s why there are people like you and me around Dusty… to teach the others the wrongs of their ways. Never give up!

  3. Anonymous said,

    October 24, 2005 at 17:14

    It’s kind of a funny thing, this “Shabbos-Goy” issue. Of course, the hypocrisy of any religion that bends it’s rules for convenience, is clearly evident – in ANY religion. But at the same time, I’m reminded of a relative of mine who, while growing up in Brooklyn during the 1950’s, was hired as a “Shabbos-Goy” – at least until his parents discovered the arrangement and ended his little enterprise.

    Once again, capitalism trumps religion.

    Perhaps we should be less concerned with the “rules” and more concerned with how our lives reflect our true hearts. If someone wants to spout piety every moment of the day, that’s their choice – but, as I once heard, “by their fruit are they judged” ….

  4. DesertPeace said,

    October 24, 2005 at 17:49

    Interesting comment Anonymous…. we might have that same relative…
    I liked your last sentence.

  5. Mr. QC said,

    December 11, 2007 at 15:22

    Is the personal value of our religious beliefs more beneficial to us than the division within humankind causes in this world? Any belief that separates people into different groups will only cause distrust, hatred, wars and ultimately the downfall of humanity. How far along that path has our religious beliefs pushed us?
    I renounce all religions and the discordant characteristics inherent in each one.

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