“Boss, I can’t wash dishes,” Bob said.
My husband and I, along with our three children under the age of three and a half, three congregants from the synagogue my husband and I served, and my husband’s employee, Bob, (who always addressed my husband as “boss”) were setting up the watch schedule for our sailing trip from Marina del Rey, California to Waikiki, Hawaii. Each person was being assigned to four-hour shifts for keeping watch and steering, along with a basic chore rotation.
But Bob occupied a unique role. The requirements of our Shabbat observance meant that the Jews on board could not steer or adjust sails from sunset Friday night until the stars came out on Saturday night. This left Bob in full charge of the boat for 25 hours each week. For this reason, he was not on watch on Friday or Sunday, but other than the weekends, we had assigned him as part of the regular task rotation that included galley clean up.
“What do you mean, you can’t wash dishes?” my husband asked. Bob had an incredible work ethic and we had never known him to shy away from any job.
“When you wash dishes, Boss, you’re taking a turn helping out. When I wash dishes, I’m a dishwasher.”