web analytics
April 21, 2015 / 2 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance
Sponsored Post

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


Question: May someone who desecrates the Sabbath lead the services if he has yahrzeit? If yes, can he replace someone else who has yahrzeit?

Hayim Grosz
(Via E-Mail)

Answer: We have received many inquiries on this subject and, in fact, we discussed this many years ago. Therefore, we will adapt somewhat from that earlier discussion.

Most authorities disapprove of a Sabbath desecrator serving as a shliach tzibbur. Though this matter seems quite elementary, in today’s day and age it appears to be of great relevance in many locales. It is important, therefore, that we first highlight the source for Sabbath observance and its relative gravity to all Jewish practice.

The Torah (Exodus 31:16-17) states: “Veshamru Bnei Yisrael et haShabbat la’asot et haShabbat ledorotam brit olam. Beini u’vein Bnei Yisrael ot hee le’olam ki sheshet yamim asah Hashem et hashamayim ve’et ha’aretz u’vayom hashevi’i shavat va’yinafash – The Children of Israel shall observe the Sabbath to make the Sabbath an eternal covenant for their generations. Between Me and the Children of Israel, it is a sign forever that in a six-day period G-d made the heavens and the earth and on the seventh day He relaxed and He rested.”

The uniqueness of Shabbat is that it serves as a sign between G-d and the Jewish people of our uniqueness before G-d.

We find “signs” elsewhere in the Torah, such as when G-d instructs Noah to leave the ark: “Vayomer Elokim zot ot habrit asher ani notein beini u’veineichem u’vein kol nefesh chaya asher it’chem ledorot olam – G-d said, ‘This is the sign of the covenant that I make between Me and you, and every living being that is with you, for all future generations.’ ” The next verse continues, “Et kashti natati be’anan ve’hayta le’ot brit beini u’vein ha’aretz – I have set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and the earth” (Genesis 9:12-13).

We also find a sign mentioned in G-d’s command to Abraham in Parshat Lech Lecha (Genesis 17:11) concerning circumcision: “U’nemaltem et besar orlat’chem ve’haya le’ot brit beini u’veineichem – You shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin and that shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you.”

Finally, we find in Parshat VaEt’chanan (Deuteronomy 6:8) regarding the mitzvah of tefillin: “U’keshartam le’ot al yadecha vehayu letotafot bein eineicha – You shall bind them as a sign upon your arm and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.”

The above references, however, are different from the verses regarding Shabbat, to which the Torah explicitly refers as a sign between G-d and the Jewish people.

The Gemara (Shabbos 10b) cites a baraita based on a verse in Parshat Ki Tissa (Exodus 31:13): “Ve’ata dabber el Bnei Yisrael lemor, ach et shabtotai tishmoru ki ot hee beini u’veineichem ledoroteichem lada’at ki ani Hashem mekaddish’chem – And you, speak to the Children of Israel saying, ‘Just observe My Sabbaths, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, to know that I am G-d who sanctifies you.’ ” The Gemara continues, “Hashem said to Moses, ‘I possess a valued present that is stored in My treasury, and Shabbat is its name, and I wish to give it to Israel; go and tell them….’ ”

This precious present is also unique in that its observance bears testimony to ma’aseh bereishit, as the Torah states (Genesis 2:1-3): “Va’yechulu hashamayim veha’aretz vechol tzeva’am. Va’yechal Elokim bayom hashevi’i melachto asher asa vayishbot bayom hashevi’i mikol melachto asher asa. Va’yevarech Elokim et yom hashevi’i va’yekaddesh oto ki vo shavat mikol melachto asher bara Elokim la’asot – Thus the heaven and the earth were completed, and all their array. G-d completed on the seventh day His work which He had done, and He abstained on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. G-d blessed the seventh day and sanctified it because on it He abstained from all His work which G-d created to do.”

This might partially explain the mesirut nefesh that some have exhibited in regard to this unique mitzvah throughout the generations. Stories abound of the difficulties in keeping Shabbat for Jews who immigrated to America at the turn of the 20th century. Not only was the general population unsympathetic to the plight of the Sabbath observer, but so were many Jewish employers who came with an earlier wave of immigration and had unfortunately assimilated. Thus, a Jew who wished to practice his religion was given a hard choice: “Observe the Sabbath or put bread on your table.” Unfortunately, many did not withstand the challenge.

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.

Current Top Story
Rav Aharon Lichtenstein
My Encounter with Rav Lichtenstein
Latest Judaism Stories
Torah scroll. (illustrative only)

For humans, reducing flesh is generally a good thing whereas its expansion is generally a bad thing


Lincoln was not a perfect man. But he rose above his imperfections to do what he thought was right not matter the obstacles.

Arch of Titus

Adon Olam: An Erev Shabbat Musical Interlude Courtesy of David Herman


Oh My, It’s Copper!
‘…And One Who Is A Coppersmith’
(Kethubboth 77a)

The omer sacrifice of loose barley flour was more fitting for animal consumption than human consumption and symbolizes the depths to which the Jewish slaves had sunk.

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)

When Chazal call not eating treif food a chok, that refers to how it functions.

His mother called “Yoni, Yoni!” Her eyes, a moment earlier dark with pain, shone with joy and hope

Kashrut reminds us that in the end, God is the arbiter of right and wrong.

In a cab with Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach & Rav Elayshiv discussing if/when to say tefillas haderech

The successful student listens more than speaks out; wants his ideas critiqued, not just appreciated

Why would it not be sufficient to simply state lehoros from which we derive that in such a state one may not issue any psak?

What do we learn about overcoming loss from the argument between Moses and Aaron’s remaining 2 sons?

Each of the unique roles attributed to Moshe share the common theme that they require of and grant higher sanctity to the individual filling the role.

Because of the way the piece of my finger had been severed, the doctors at the hospital were not able to reattach it. They told me I’d have to see a specialist.

“The problem is that the sum total is listed is $17,000. However, when you add the sums mentioned, it is clear that the total of $17,000 is an error. Thus, Mr. Broyer owes me $18,000, not $17,000.”

More Articles from Rabbi Yaakov Klass

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)

Question: What if someone forgot to count sefirah Thursday evening but only realized after he finished davening Friday evening? The catch is that he accepted Shabbos early so that it is still light outside. Can he still count for Thursday evening and then count for Friday night with a berachah once it gets dark?

Pesach Bernstein
(Via E-Mail)

Question: What if a person counted the Omer but forgot to utter the blessing beforehand? Has he fulfilled his obligation? Incidentally, why do we recite a blessing for this counting but not for the “zayin nekiyim – seven clean days”?

M. Goldman
Miami Beach, FL

Question: Must one spend great sums of money and invest much effort in making one’s home kosher for Passover? Not all of us have such unlimited funds.

Name Withheld
(Via E-Mail)

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: