web analytics
November 26, 2014 / 4 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



Q & A: A Sabbath Desecrator Leading Services (Part VI)


QuestionsandAnswers-logo

However, the Darchei Teshuva (Yoreh De’ah 119:34) cites the Taharat Yisrael to the effect that this rule only refers to someone violating a rabbinical law. In regards to biblical laws, a person is already considered a flagrant desecrator if his misdeed is known to 10 individuals.

The gaon Rabbi Moshe Stern, zt”l, discusses whether a mechallel Shabbat lete’avon (one who desecrates the Sabbath in order to satisfy his desire) can serve as a mohel if he acts Jewish to some degree (e.g. he dons tefillin, allows his sons to be circumcised, and prays in a synagogue). Rabbi Stern (in Responsa Ba’er Moshe, vol. 5:94) writes that such a person may serve as a mohel due to the importance of performing a brit milah at its proper time. If the person intentionally violates the Sabbath and is not seen observing other mitzvot, however, then it is better to delay the circumcision for a day in order to find another mohel to perform the circumcision.

Rabbi Stern qualifies his ruling by stating that it was issued in the Hungarian city of Debrecen, where the rav and congregation were closely regulated by state authorities. In places like the U.S., however, where we are free to accept or reject whomever we wish, there is no reason to be lenient.

Rabbi Sternbuch addresses a similar question in another teshuvah. He was asked (Teshuvot Ve’Hanhagot, vol. I, Yoreh De’ah 474) about a remote community where, due to an emergency, the only two people able to lead services were a Shomer Shabbat kohen who lived with a gentile woman and a blatant Sabbath desecrator. Rabbi Sternbuch argued that it was preferable to choose the Sabbath desecrator for at least his leading the services would not directly lead to Jews intermarrying. Yet, he added, “Woe to us that we have sinned so much that we have to deal with such questions.”

Similarly, Rabbi Chaim Mordechai Hodakov, zt”l, who was the longtime secretary to the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, zt”l, said in a speech at a shluchim convention some years ago that he would permit a Sabbath desecrator to lead services in extenuating circumstances – such as if one is running a shul in the American heartland (where there are fewer people available to fill the role of chazzan) “because at that moment, when [the mechallel Shabbat] leads the congregation, [one must ask] is he desecrating the Shabbat?”

Recently, klal Yisrael lost one of its forceful leaders, Rabbi Abraham Hecht, zt”l, who served as the catalyst in the development and exponential growth of Brooklyn’s Syrian Sephardic community in his capacity as rabbi of Congregation Sha’are Zion for over 50 years. At the Hashkavah– the Sephardic memorial at the culmination of shiva – his son Rabbi Yehoshua Hecht, rabbi of Beth Israel Synagogue, Norwalk, CT, recounted the following incident:

In the early years of the community, before the construction of the beautiful Sha’are Zion Synagogue and when Sabbath observance was still very weak, Rabbi Hecht lead the Magen David congregation in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. On Shabbat mornings, young Yehoshua and several of his siblings would accompany their father on the long walk from their home on Ocean Parkway to the synagogue in Bensonhurst. One week, as they walked to the synagogue, Yehoshua suddenly became aware that their usual route was not the most direct. He asked, “Daddy, why don’t we go down Ave. P? It’s the shortest way to the shul.” Rabbi Hecht did not hesitate with his explanation: “Those stores that we would pass, unfortunately, are run by our people. When I see them in shul on Shabbat, I would rather not know what transpires in their stores.”

In analyzing the theory of mitzvah haba’ah be’averah in light of Rabbi Hodakov’s statement (as well as Rabbi Hecht’s answer to his son), it becomes evident that we cannot compare a shliach tzibbur who is mechallel Shabbos with someone who, for example, wishes to fulfill the mitzvah of tefillin by stealing a pair and wearing them. The latter person is fulfilling a mitzvah by dint of performing an aveirah. The former, however, is doing nothing wrong – he is not violating the Sabbath – at the time that he’s serving as a shliach tzibbur. Nor did he do anything wrong to become the shliach tzibbur.

About the Author: Rabbi Yaakov Klass, rav of Congregation K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush, Brooklyn, is Torah Editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at yklass@jewishpress.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Q & A: A Sabbath Desecrator Leading Services (Part VI)”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
President Obama overlaid against photo of Jonathan Pollard.
The Hidden Reason the United States Won’t Release Pollard.
Latest Judaism Stories
Dante's Vision of Rachel and Leah

Yitzhak called you Esav and you answered him, then he called you Yaakov and you also answered him!”

Rabbi Avi Weiss

Yitzchak thought the Jewish people needed dual leadership: Eisav the physical; Yaakov the spiritual

Weiss-112114-Sufganiot

According to the Sefer Yetzirah, the nature of the month of Kislev is sleep.

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch-NEW

Though braggarts come across as conceited, their boasting often reflects a low sense of self-regard

Not every child can live up to our hopes or expectations, but every child is loved by Hashem.

Leaders must always pay attention to the importance of timing.

While our leaders have been shepherds, the vast majority of the Children of Israel were farmers.

Maimonides himself walked and prayed in the permissible areas when he visited Eretz Yisrael in 1165

If a man dies childless, the Torah commands the deceased’s brother to marry his brother’s widow in a ceremony known as yibum, or to perform a special form of divorce ceremony with her known as chalitzah.

Dovid turned to the other people sitting at his table. “I’m revoking my hefker of the Chumash,” he announced. “I want to keep it.”

Ever Vigilant
‘When Unworthy, One’s Number Of Years Is Reduced’
(Yevamos 50a)

Question: My young daughter was recently diagnosed with autism. She does not function well socially and is extremely introverted, but we have noticed that she reacts very well to small animals. We reported this to her therapist who suggested that we get a dog or cat as a pet. We know that most religious people frown upon having pets, but we hate to see our daughter suffer and want to do anything that would make her happy. Would it be okay to own a pet in the circumstances we described?

Her Loving Parents
(Via E-Mail)

Ramban interprets Korban as self-sacrifice, each Jew should attempt to recreate Akeidas Yitzchak.

Dr. Schwartz had no other alternatives up his sleeve. He suggested my mother go home and think about what she wanted to do.

Why does Lavan’s speaking before his father show that he was wicked? Disrespectful, yes. Rude, certainly. But a rasha?

More Articles from Rabbi Yaakov Klass
QuestionsandAnswers-logo

Question: My young daughter was recently diagnosed with autism. She does not function well socially and is extremely introverted, but we have noticed that she reacts very well to small animals. We reported this to her therapist who suggested that we get a dog or cat as a pet. We know that most religious people frown upon having pets, but we hate to see our daughter suffer and want to do anything that would make her happy. Would it be okay to own a pet in the circumstances we described?

Her Loving Parents
(Via E-Mail)

Question: My young daughter was recently diagnosed with autism. She does not function well socially and is extremely introverted, but we have noticed that she reacts very well to small animals. We reported this to her therapist who suggested that we get a dog or cat as a pet. We know that most religious people frown upon having pets, but we hate to see our daughter suffer and want to do anything that would make her happy. Would it be okay to own a pet in the circumstances we described?

Her Loving Parents
(Via E-Mail)

Question: My young daughter was recently diagnosed with autism. She does not function well socially and is extremely introverted, but we have noticed that she reacts very well to small animals. We reported this to her therapist who suggested that we get a dog or cat as a pet. We know that most religious people frown upon having pets, but we hate to see our daughter suffer and want to do anything that would make her happy. Would it be okay to own a pet in the circumstances we described?

Her Loving Parents
(Via E-Mail)

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/ask-the-rabbi/a-sabbath-desecrator-leading-services-part-vi/2013/02/27/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: