The short days of winter have been known to lead to kashrut problems – not actual kashrut, but some stores, especially supermarkets, try to stay open for the public as close to the end of the day as possible, at times leading to problems of chillul shabbos.
The Rabbanut is going out on an initiative to prevent stores from staying open past the entry of Shabbos and reminding store owners of the rule that they must close on Fridays no later than 2 hours prior to Shabbos.
In some places though, it seems store owners are not necessarily quite as cooperative, and will try to keep their stores open as late as they can get away with it. To counter this the Rabbanut is putting together a position of “Mashigiach Shabbat.” This mashgiach will circulate the problematic areas very close to Shabbos and make sure stores are closed, and report those that are not. Kashrut certificates will be removed from stores and restaurants that violate these rules.
The Rabbanut does not even blame the owners and accuse them of intentionally keeping their stores open on Shabbos. They very understandingly have said that closing a store is not just shutting the doors at the appointed time. The store needs to be closed, merchandise needs to be organized, cleaners need to do their job, money needs to be counted and put away, etc. All these things take time. And on a short Friday, as Shabbos is approaching, customers come in at the last minute, maybe they knock on the doors pleading to be let in to get just one more thing, and all this takes time. They are therefore saying that the doors need to shut, completely, at least 2 hours before Shabbos, to allow the owner and his team to do whatever is necessary to conclude the days tasks in time for Shabbos. Customers should know that going shopping so late in the day can cause chillul Shabbos.
I remember once reading that the Rabbanut or municipalities had supervisors employed to check and ensure businesses were closed on Shabbos. I seem to recall that for that job, which was being done on Shabbos itself, Druze people were employed. This job is different in that it is being performed on Friday afternoon, albeit close to Shabbos, so it seems Jews will be employed for this. Not that it matters – Jews or Druze.
I assume the Rabbanut will ensure that the mashgiach they send out, unless he is indeed Druze, will be sent out with enough time to finish his rounds and have enough time to get home for Shabbos.
Visit Life in Israel.Rafi Goldmeier
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