Grand Court Hotel Bar - Jerusalem
Grand Court Hotel Bar – Jerusalem

I learned a lot from the bartender at Jerusalem’s Grand Hotel Bar.  After a full day of sight seeing, I went down to the bar for a beer.  It was 5:58 PM on a Friday; I figured the place would be rockin’, you know, TGIF and all that.  The place was deserted.

The bartender ask me what I’d like.  I ordered a pint of Gold Star dark lager, Israel’s national brew.  As he was drawing the beer, he said, “You’re just in time, this is the last one for the day.”

“Oh yeah”, I asked, “why is that?  He finished pouring and set my mug of beer on the bar.

“Shabbat” he said.  Being new to the country, I hadn’t learned any phrases yet, so I raised my glass to him and said, “Cheers”.

He smiled and said, “No, no no, its not that, Shabbat is the Jewish Sabbath.  From 6:00 PM tonight until 8:00 PM tomorrow night, Shabbat is observed”.  Ooops, I meant no disrespect … but, crap, abstinence for another 26 hours?

The bartender saw the look on my face and read my thoughts.  He told me not to worry, he could still serve me beer, but only in bottles.   Huh?   He explained that no work was to be done during Shabbat, and drawing the tap was considered work but he could still open a bottle of beer for me.  My furrowed brow told him I was even more confused.  He said it had something to do with using the electricity to run the tap, a labor-saving device that was not permitted.  Never mind, I wasn’t about to press my luck and ask him how tending the bar was not considered work.

Thought for the Day:  Who finds a faithful friend, finds a treasure.     Jewish Proverb

2 thoughts on “Shabbat

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