My name is Shai Shone and I’m in 8th grade. My favorite mitzvah by far is Shabbat. My fifth grade teacher in Shuvu Bat Yam, Morah Naomi, spent the entire year teaching us and showing us what Shabbat is all about. I spent many awesome Shabbatot at her house in Bnei Brak. It was a very big decision for me to decide to try and keep Shabbat properly at home because my parents use Saturday as a day to run errands, take care of yardwork, and things like that. Morah explained that all we can do is try our best and Hashem would help us.
As summer vacation approached that 5th grade year, I was very apprehensive. I had already kept Shabbat on my own for a few months, but I knew that a huge challenge loomed. My birthday was the very first Monday of vacation and I was going to be getting an Xbox. I knew from my friends that once you get one, it is nearly impossible to just put it away for an entire day. I decided to ask Morah and a few other staff members at my school to daven for me; to pray that I would be able to stand up to the test and not use my Xbox over Shabbat.
Vacation! My birthday! I finally got my long awaited Xbox! And play with it, I did; all day, all night, until my eyes were actually closing on me. As it got later on Friday morning, I knew what I had to do. I grabbed the cable and took two buses from Bat Yam to Bnei Brak to get to Morah Naomi’s house. I shifted slightly uncomfortably outside her front door until she opened up. Morah was quite pleasantly surprised to see me and was positively overjoyed when I asked her to keep the Xbox cable over Shabbat. Each of those nine Friday afternoons that I showed up there that summer, Morah expressed her delight anew and heaped on more praise. I practically felt like I was one of her own children, the way she got all teary eyed.
I know that the fortitude I had that summer was Hashem helping me because I was trying my best. I know my teachers were rooting for me and praying for me to feel that strength. By the time the school year started, the novelty of my Xbox had worn off and it no longer tempted me on Shabbat.
Unfortunately, my mother refused to allow me to continue in a religious school, but even in Chashmonaim, my Chiloni middle school, I keep all the Mitzvot and wear Tzitzit every day. I finish school early on Tuesdays, so I visit Shuvu Bat Yam and get to learn with my former Rebbi, Rabbi Yoram Cohen. Shabbat is still the highlight of my week and I always try to keep it that way Hashem wants it to be kept!