web analytics
December 22, 2014 / 30 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



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


QuestionsandAnswers-logo

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

Hayim Grosz
(Via E-Mail)

Answers: Last week, we cited Exodus (31:16-17) as the source for our Sabbath observance. The verse explains that Shabbat serves as a sign between G-d and the Jewish people of our uniqueness before G-d. The Gemara (Shabbos 10b) describes Shabbat as a precious present from G-d to the Jewish people. In addition, in parshat Bereishit we see that Shabbat bears testimony to the creation since G-d abstained from creating the world on that day.

We discussed the self-sacrifice that many Jews throughout the generations have exhibited in regard to Sabbath observance. While today there are many laws to protect Sabbath observers, this was not the case generations ago. Many Jews faced a hard choice: “Observe the Sabbath or put bread on your table.”

Unfortunately, there were many who did not withstand the challenge. It therefore became de rigueur for Jews to refer to themselves with the appellation “shomer Shabbat” as opposed to, for example, “shomer Torah u’mitzvot.” Although the observance of Shabbat is just one aspect of Judaism, it is one that clearly identifies the Jew and is an unmistakable indicator of his or her level of commitment.

* * * * *

Our good friend, colleague, and Jewish Press columnist Rabbi Moshe Meir Weiss, shlita, rav of Congregation Agudas Yisrael of Staten Island, relates the following in his discussion on the essence and beauty of Shabbos (Passionate Judaism, Judaica Press, 1998):

“The importance of Shabbos, and the profound love and awe Jews committed to Shabbos feel, has been described many times. But few descriptions match the tragic but inspiring incidents common during the Holocaust – reports of Jews who were so bound to the mitzvah of Shabbos that they would rather lose their lives than violate this mitzvah.

“To further their hideous goals, the Nazis, yemach shemam v’zichram, desperately needed tin craftsmen. Finding skilled tin workers during the war was not easy and, as a result, they were severely shorthanded. Their needs were so acute that they even plucked a Chassidic Jew out of Auschwitz and put him to work laboring for their war effort. This Jewish man was removed from the concentration camp and given unheard of privileges. As a result he saved many Jews from the gas chamber.

“Despite all this he was plagued by a burning issue. One day he smuggled himself back into Auschwitz and into the barrack of the late Klausenburger Rebbe, zt”l. When he succeeded in meeting the Rebbe, he posed the following chilling query. As slave laborers, all Jews were forced to desecrate the Shabbos. According to halachah, to biblically desecrate Shabbos one must do a complete act. The Jews in the concentration camp were generally forced to work in the rock quarries where they rarely did a complete act. This chosid, however, was commanded to perform precision tin work. As a result he completed many acts on Shabbos. Therefore, he asked his Rebbe if halachically he would be permitted to purposely burn his hands to end his ability to do his work. In doing this, he exclaimed, he would be sent back to the camps where he wouldn’t have to desecrate the Shabbos as much.

“The Rebbe firmly answered that people were killed all the time in the camps. For this reason, he categorically rejected this chosid’s plan to mutilate his hands and thus be returned to the concentration camp where his life would be in danger. The chosid, however, persisted. How could his existence be considered ‘life’ if he had to continually desecrate the Shabbos? The Rebbe impressed upon him the fact that his unique status gave him the possibility to save other Jews and he had no right whatsoever to give that up. At that, the chosid was convinced and continued outside the camp with his forced labor.

“This true story demonstrates how profound the love and awe for Shabbos is in a Jewish soul [heard from Rav Gershon Weiss, shlit”a].”

No discussion of the present of Shabbat would be complete without mentioning a special hakarat hatov, an expression of gratitude, to an individual who fought a unique and valiant battle so that we would be allowed to keep our Sabbath on the seventh day of the week.

Dr. Isaac Lewin, late professor at Yeshiva University, fought hard in 1956, in his capacity as Agudath Israel representative to the United Nations, against a UN resolution to insert a “blank” day (known as “World’s Day”) into the calendar as a means of calendar reform – thus essentially creating an eight-day week every year.

With his keen knowledge, Dr. Lewin persuaded and enlisted leaders of the major religions and a majority of the member states to defeat this terrible threat to our observance of the Sabbath. Dr. Lewin understood that the inclusion of a “blank” day even once in a century would wreak havoc with Shabbat, as it would no longer fall on Saturday. In fact, now that we are in the 21st century, we would be observing Shabbat on Fridays.

If no action had been taken, we would have “kicked the can down the road” for our children and children’s children to deal with, creating a situation whereby Shabbat would eventually traverse all the days of the week. Just imagine a Jew in modern society trying to find employment in a work force – that does not comprehend the sanctity of Shabbat to begin with – operating under a calendar where Shabbat would come out on a Wednesday, smack in the middle of the work week, for example.

It was his perseverance and zeal, documented in his book In the Struggle Against Discrimination (Bloch Publication, 1957), which benefits us today as we experience the joy of Shabbat every week.

(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 II)”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Latest Judaism Stories
Knesset and Menorah

Israel projects global material illumination not always the light of “morality” meant by the Navi

Parsha-Perspective-Logo-NEW

To many of our brethren Chanukah has lost its meaning.

Parsha-Perspective-Logo-NEW

This ability to remain calm under pressure and continue to see the situation clearly is a hallmark of Yehuda’s leadership.

Torah-Hakehillah-121914

It would have been understandable for these great warriors to become dispirited.

The travail of Yosef was undoubtedly the greatest trauma of Yaakov’s life, which certainly knew its share of hardships.

Yosef, in interpreting the first set of dreams, performed in a manner that was clearly miraculous to all.

Chazal teach us that we need to be “sur may’rah v’asei tov,”avoid bad and do good.

When we celebrate the completion of learning a section of Torah, we recite the Hadran.

Fetal Immersion?
‘The Fetus Is A Limb Of Its Mother’
(Yevamos 78a)

Yosef proves he is a true leader; He is continually and fully engaged in the task of running Egypt

When the inability cannot be clearly attributed to either spouse, the halacha is the subject of debate among the Rishonim.

Those who reject our beliefs know in their souls Jewish power stems from our faith and our prayers.

He stepped outside, and, to his dismay, the menorah was missing. It had been stolen.

Though we Jews have deep obligations to all people our obligation to our fellow Jew is unique.

In a way that decision was the first in a series of miracles with which Hashem blessed us.

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)

More Articles from Rabbi Yaakov Klass
QuestionsandAnswers-logo

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: 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: 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: 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/q-a-a-sabbath-desecrator-leading-services-part-ii/2013/01/31/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: