| Theme Section: Time Will Tell |

The Day Beyond Time

The clock is a constant in a shifting world. Six women share time-related tales

The Day Beyond Time

Elana Rothberg

She’s a stockbroker.

Minutes are money, pressure is high, time is of the essence. She’s yekkish, you know, so being on time is as sacrosanct as the Ten Commandments.

The way Mommy has decorated our house screams this truth. Clocks adorn the walls in every single room of our house. You couldn’t avoid the time if you tried.

But just in case, she’s never without a watch: waterproof, crack-proof, probably fire-proof. Just in case.

This approach to time has seeped into my bones.

One Shabbos, we do an apartment swap with friends in a different neighborhood. We get there, I look around, and immediately notice what is conspicuously absent.

There are no clocks.

I freak out, feel like I can’t catch my breath. I have my lone watch adorning my hand; but what happens at night when it’s buried under the blanket? What if I take it off for comfort? What if my hand is grasping the baby and I need to know the time?

Why knowing the time is so critically important over a Shabbos is beyond me. But it just is. Time is essential. Time is critical. Time is knowledge, and power, and money, all wrapped in one.

Shabbos was stressful.

After Shabbos, our friends apologize; they noticed the clocks in every room of our apartment, and recognized the stark contrast to their own.

I discuss with my mother how I’ve become enslaved to time, how instead of a help, my yekkishness is a hindrance.

She laughs and shares something with me I’ve never noticed: on Shabbos, she doesn’t wear a watch. She tells me she took that on a few years ago to infuse her Shabbosim with more menuchah. The entire week she watches the clock; why should she do that on Shabbos?

I’m wowed by my mother, but have yet to implement her custom. Old habits die hard. But every now and then, as I’m getting ready on a Friday afternoon or after waking up from a Shabbos nap, I look at my watch and think of Mommy, and her ability to relinquish the taskmaster of time to the Shabbos Queen.


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 785)

Oops! We could not locate your form.