web analytics
September 18, 2014 / 23 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



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


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)

Answer: Exodus 31:16-17 is 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. Therefore, It 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.

We relayed the story told by Rabbi Moshe Meir Weiss, shlita, about a chassidic Jew in Auschwitz who was so dedicated to Hashem that he was ready to give up a job outside the concentration camp because it required him to desecrate Shabbat. The late Klausenburger Rebbe, zt”l, had to reassure him that since the job gave him the possibility to save other Jews, he was required to keep it.

In 1956, Dr. Isaac Lewin, professor at Yeshiva University, fought against a UN resolution to designate a “World’s Day” to the calendar, which would have created one eight-day week per year and resulted in Shabbat falling out on a day other than Saturday. Dr. Lewin enlisted the world’s religious leaders, among others, to defeat this threat to our observance of Shabbat.

Last week, we discussed the requirement to refrain from work on Shabbat. The Rambam (Sefer Hamitzvot) discusses Shabbat both in his positive commandments section (sanctify the Sabbath) and in his negative commandments section (don’t do any labor on Shabbat). Rabbi Dovid Ribiat in “The 39 Melachos” presents the 39 forbidden labors in an easy-to-understand yet comprehensive manner with modern-day, up-to-date applications.

Studying these laws and committing to their observance is not only a sign of one’s Sabbath observance, but serves as a key identifier of one’s entire Torah observance.

* * * * *

The Gemara (Ta’anit 16a-b) discusses the qualifications of a shliach tzibbur. It cites the Sages who maintain that even when an elder or scholar is present, it is preferable that the chazzan be someone who is “conversant with the prayers.” R’ Yehuda explains that this term means “someone who has many dependents without sufficient means of support, whose livelihood comes from laboring in the fields [since he will have greater kavannah, especially in asking for rain], whose house is empty, whose youth is unblemished, who is ever humble and acceptable to the people, who is skilled at chanting, who has a pleasant voice, and who possesses a thorough knowledge of Torah, Nevi’im, Kesuvim, Midrash, Halacha, Agadah, and all the berachot.”

One would assume that somebody who possesses thorough knowledge of all these topics would be the very “elder or scholar” whom we are supposedly passing up in favor of someone else. Apparently, then, vast knowledge was more prevalent in Talmudic times and found even among the general populace. Thus, someone who possessed a thorough knowledge of so much material was not necessarily a scholar or elder.

The Gemara notes a redundancy in R’ Yehuda’s list since “without sufficient means of support” seems the same as “whose house is empty.” R’ Chisda explains that “whose house is empty” means “empty of sin.” Abaye explains that “whose youth is unblemished” means that there have been no rumors of evil behavior from his youth onward.

The Mechaber (Orach Chayim 53:4-5) codifies all the attributes listed in the Gemara as basic requirements for one who will lead the congregation in prayer.

What is actually meant when we require one to be “empty of sin”? The Rema (ad loc. 53:5) explains that it does not mean someone who never sinned. He writes, “If someone committed a sin by accident – for example, he killed someone accidentally, yet subsequently repented, we permit him to lead the congregational prayers. [Please note: We see that someone who committed such an act accidentally is nevertheless referred to as having sinned, and he must repent.] However, if he killed someone intentionally, we do not allow him to lead the congregation in any event.”

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.

One Response to “Q & A: A Sabbath Desecrator Leading Services (Part IV)”

  1. You have stated:
    Exodus 31:16-17 is 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.

    I am reading these mentioned verses in my Torah:
    Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, [for] a perpetual covenant.
    It [is] a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for [in] six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.

    Nowhere these verses state that the Jews are a people of your uniqueness before G-d.
    It is clearly telling that the children of Israel do have the Sabbath as perpetual sign.
    What percentage are the Jews of the children of Israel?
    To claim being unique is robbing the covenant from the other children of Israel and is a shame, an impunity and a chutzpah.
    The Sabbath is a sign, even for the Muslims. The Qur'an states that clearly in Surah 2:66.
    The Sabbath is a sign, foremost for all humanity, as it was part of the Creation with Adam and Eve. And Eve is the mother of all living (Gen 3:20).

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
The beheading of British aid worker David Haines, Sept. 14, 2014. The terrorist standing beside him threatened that his fellow British aid volunteer, Alan Henning, would be next if UK Prime Minister David Cameron doesn't relinquish his support for the fight against ISIS.
British Muslims Plead for ISIS to Free Captive Alan Henning
Latest Judaism Stories
Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

The Chafetz Chaim answered that there are two forms of teshuvah; teshuvah m’ahava and teshuvah m’yirah.

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

Daf-Yomi-logo

A Role Reversal
‘Return, O Wayward Sons…’
(Chagigah 15a)

When the Kleins returned, however, they were dismayed to see that the renters did a poor job cleaning up after themselves.

In Parshas Re’eh the Torah tells us about the bechira to adhere to the commandments of Hashem and refrain from sin. In Parshas Nitzavim, the Torah tells us that we have the choice to repent after we have sinned.

As Moshe is about to die, why does God tell him about how the Israelites will ruin everything?

Jonah objected to God accepting repentance based on ulterior motives and likely for short duration.

This week’s parsha offers a new covenant; a covenant that speaks to national life unlike any other

All Jews are inherently righteous and that is why we all have a portion in the World to Come.

If mourning is incompatible with Yom Tov, why is it not incompatible with Shabbat?

Since it is a Rabbinic prohibition we may follow the more lenient opinion.

How can the Torah expect me today, thousands of years after the mitzvahs were given, to view each mitzvah as if I’m fulfilling it for the first time?

Torah isn’t a theological treatise or a metaphysical system but a series of stories linked over time

In contrast to her Eicha-like lamentations of the previous hour or more, however, my youngest was now grinning from ear-to-ear.

An Astonishing Miracle
‘Why Bring the Infants to Hakhel?’
(Chagigah 3a)

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: The Gemara in Berachot states that the sages authored our prayers. Does that mean we didn’t pray beforehand?

Menachem
Via Email

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/ask-the-rabbi/q-a-a-sabbath-desecrator-leading-services-part-iv/2013/02/14/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: