web analytics
October 1, 2014 / 7 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



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


QuestionsandAnswers-logo

Today, we are fortunate that many states and localities have passed laws to protect Sabbath observers. These laws prevent employers from discriminating against current or prospective employees who wish to leave a little early on Friday to prepare for Shabbat while making up the time on other days of the week. But even as recently as the 1960s and 1970s, no such protections existed at all, let alone at the turn of the twentieth century when Jewish immigration to the United States exploded.

My own grandfather, Reb Simcha Kirschner z”l, a scholarly Jew, was one of those people faced with the economic challenge of keeping Shabbat. It goes without saying that he made the proper choice, and Shabbat reigned supreme in his home. Thus it was many a Sunday that found him in search of a job. Indeed, for many years there was no milk in the house and fruit was very rare and looked upon as a delicacy.

There are two stories that stand out in particular among the many that I remember my mother, a”h, telling me regarding her parents. My grandfather wanted the younger children to have some fresh air, so on a Sunday he would often take them to Van Cortland Park in the Bronx. As a special treat he would bring along a single apple and cut it equally in four parts for his children (my mother being the youngest). Indeed, my mother suffered from anemia her entire life due to her early childhood diet.

Another story was about my aunt Tzivia who had a very close friend, Sura. My aunt would go to Sura’s house very often and at times would be there at dinnertime. She would come back home and regale the family with all the details of the wonderful food served at Sura’s house. Her father was able to provide a lavish table as he worked on Shabbat. My mother related that at least one time, when her sister came home with her dinner food tales, my grandmother asked her, “Un zei hut dir eppes gegeben – And did they give you anything?” It was obvious that my grandmother wished not only to expose a lack of generosity in that home, but to protect her own family’s Sabbath observance.

These two stories are not unique to my grandparents’ household. Rather, they were repeated many times over as Jews sought to follow the path of their parents and all the generations before them in a strange new land. In fact, due to this stark choice with which they were confronted, this land was referred to as both the “goldeneh medina – the golden land” and the “treifene medina – the unholy [unkosher] land.”

It therefore became de rigueur for fully observant Jews to style themselves with the appellation “shomer Shabbat.” Note that the term by which they referred to themselves and which would appear on most retail food signage was one that that proclaimed Sabbath observance (as opposed to other, or all, mitzvot). Why not use a term like “shomer Torah u’mitzvot”? The answer is simple. Though the observance of Shabbat is just one aspect of Judaism, it is one that clearly identifies a Jew and is an unmistakable indicator of his or her level of commitment.

(To be continued)

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 I)”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
B'Tselem ran a campaign this summer attacking Israel for its actions when searching for the missing Israeli teenagers. They called the campaign, "Hitching a Ride."
Israeli AG: Anti-Israel NGO Can Utilize National Service Volunteers
Latest Judaism Stories

On Sunday, Jews will be refraining from food and drink from dawn until sunset to commemorate the Fast of Gedaliah. Following Nebuchadnetzar’s destruction of the First Temple and exile of most of the Jews, the Babylonians appointed Gedaliah ben Achikaam as governor of Judea. Under Gedaliah’s leadership, Judea and the survivors began to recover. On […]

On the beach

As we enter the Days of Awe, we must recognize that it is a joy to honor and serve true royalty.

Rabbi Avi Weiss

On Rosh Hashanah we are taught that true self-analysis involves the breaking down of walls

PTI-092614-Shofar

When we hear the words “Rosh Hashana is coming” it really means Hashem Himself is coming!

So we work, but one day in seven we also rest and spend more time than usual with family and friends. In shul we reestablish our links with the community. Through the festivals we relive the history of our people, and cure ourselves of the narrow sense of living for the moment. On Rosh Hashanah […]

But then I began to think about it and I realized the corresponding Hebrew date to 9/11 was the twenty-third of Elul, and that also added up to eleven, since Elul is the sixth month of the Jewish calendar year and six plus two plus three equals eleven. I turned to the portion of the […]

Why am I getting so agitated? And look how we’re treating each other!

While women are exempt from actually learning Torah, they are obligated in a different aspect of the mitzvah.

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

We must eat, sleep, work, and care for our dependants. How much time is left over after all that?

Once we recognize that our separation from God is our fault, how do we repair it?

Chatzitzah And Its Applications
‘Greater Stringency Applies To Hallowed Things…’
(Chagiga 20b-21a)

To choose life, you must examine your actions in the period preceding the Days of Awe as an unbiased stranger, and render your decision.

Rabbi Dayan took a challah and some cooked eggs. He then called over his 15-year-old son, Aharon. “Could you please ask your friend Chaim from next door to come over and help me with the eruv tavshilin?”

This world has its purpose; it has been ideally fashioned to allow man to grow.

More Articles from Rabbi Yaakov Klass
Questions-Answers-logo

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/ask-the-rabbi/q-a-a-sabbath-desecrator-leading-services-part-i/2013/01/24/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: