web analytics
May 26, 2015 / 8 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


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.

Current Top Story
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
Barkat Peeved at Netanyahu for Dividing Him from Jerusalem Affairs Post
Latest Judaism Stories
Leff-052215

There is a great debate as to whether this story actually took place or is simply a metaphor, a prophetic vision shown to Hoshea by Hashem.

Staum-052215

Every person is presented with moments when he/she must make difficult decisions about how to proceed.

Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

One does not necessarily share the opinions of one’s brother. One may disapprove of his actions, values, and/or beliefs. However, with brothers there is a bond of love and caring that transcends all differences.

Torah

This Shavuot let’s give G-d a gift too: Let’s make this year different by doing just 1 more mitzvah

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times, alternating hands? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining to young children? What is the protocol if […]

God and the divine origin of His Torah are facts even though we do not fully comprehend them.

So if we basically live the same life, why should he get eternal reward and not me?”

The question is: What about pidyon haben? Can one give the five sela’im required for pidyon haben to a kohen’s daughter?

In Parshas Pinchas the Torah introduces the Mussaf for Shavuos by describing it as Yom HaBikurim when we bring the new offering.

Rachel was thrown by the sight and began to caringly think whom this person might be.

The desert, with its unearthly silence & emptiness, is the condition in which the Word can be heard

The census focused on the individual, proving each is created as irreplaceable, unique images of God

Jewish survival in a dysfunctional world requires women assuming the role Hashem gave them at Sinai

The Honor Of Reading The Kesubah
‘Witnesses Sign Only After Reading…’
(Kesubos 109a)

Why does the Torah use two different words for “to count,” and what does each indicate?

From Bemidbar on and in Nevi’im, the nation is viewed primarily by its component parts, the tribes

More Articles from Rabbi Yaakov Klass
Q-A-Klass-logo

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times, alternating hands? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining to young children? What is the protocol if […]

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times on each hand alternatingly? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining young children? What is the protocol if no vessel is available? Additionally, may we dry our hands via an electric dryer?

Harry Koenigsberg
(Via E-Mail)

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(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: