web analytics
October 2, 2014 / 8 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 IX)


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 verses explain that Shabbat serves as a sign between G-d and the Jewish people of our uniqueness before G-d. In parshat Bereishit we see that Shabbat bears testimony to the creation since G-d abstained from creating the world on that day.

Many Jews throughout the generations have exhibited tremendous self-sacrifice to observe Shabbat. 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 examined the qualifications of a shliach tzibbur, who must be able to pronounce each letter and vowel correctly. The Mishnah Berurah explains that a shliach tzibbur must be a tzaddik ben tzaddik. However, even if one is not from a distinguished family, one may serve as a shliach tzibbur as long as he is not a tzaddik ben rasha.

We also discussed whether a Sabbath desecrator can lead prayer services. The Shulchan Aruch writes that saying a blessing over a stolen pair of tefillin is forbidden. Thus, a Sabbath desecrator leading services is not blessing G-d but blaspheming Him. We thus might classify such a tefillah as a mitzvah haba’ah be’averah.

Rabbi Yitzhak Yaakov Weiss (Minchat Yitzhak III 26:4) suggests a more lenient approach, differentiating between various categories of mechallelei Shabbat. Authorities differ on when a hidden desecrator is considered an apostate, and when he is still considered a Jew in good standing. Ultimately, different circumstances create different rulings.

Rabbi Chaim Mordechai Hodakov, zt”l, allowed Sabbath desecrators to lead services in extenuating circumstances, such as where there are few available candidates “because at that moment, when [the mechallel Shabbat] leads the congregation, is he desecrating Shabbos?”

It follows that we cannot compare a Sabbath desecrator leading prayer services with a “mitzvah haba’ah be’averah” – e.g., saying a blessing over stolen tefillin – for when a shliach tzibbur leads services, he is not desecrating the Sabbath.

We also examined the Gemara which discusses freeing one’s slave – a prohibition – in order to make up a minyan. We compared that act to including a Sabbath desecrator in a minyan. If a slave can make up a minyan, surely a Sabbath desecrator, who is obligated in mitzvot (unlike a slave) and who is doing nothing wrong at the moment, can be part of a minyan and lead the services.

Last week, we discussed the order of precedence for mourners reciting kaddish and leading services.

* * * * *

We seem to have established that there is room for leniency when it comes to a Sabbath desecrator leading services since, at that moment (when he serves as chazzan), he is not desecrating the Sabbath. Accordingly, it would seem that a mourner who desecrates the Sabbath has the same rights as any other Jew when it comes to reciting kaddish and leading the services.

If he has yahrzeit on the same day as someone else (who does observe the Sabbath), there are two factors to consider. First, the Gemara (Sanhedrin 74a) relates that an individual came before Rabbah with the following query: “The gentile officer of my city has ordered me to kill a certain individual. If I don’t do it, I will be killed. [What should do?]” Rabbah answered, “Let yourself be killed [rather than commit murder], for who knows if your blood is redder than his; perhaps his is redder than yours.”

We see that one should always – even if one’s life is threatened – give great consideration to one’s fellow. The Gemara’s case concerns killing. But let think about our situation. Two people have yahrzeit. One observes the Sabbath, one doesn’t. It is very possible that the soul of the Sabbath desecrator’s parent craves that kaddish and merit of his or her son leading the services on his or her behalf more than the soul of the Sabbath observer’s parent whose child is a walking example on this earth of the fine Jewish upbringing his parent gave him. Therefore, it follows that the Sabbath desecrator should lead the services. (Of course, this assumes that the Sabbath desecrator strongly requested this honor.)

In truth, it would be best if the two individuals who have yahrzeit come to some sort of compromise between themselves. They can perhaps share the tefillah (as we discussed last week) or perhaps agree that one will lead Ma’ariv while the other will lead Shacharit.

Who knows (and this is the second factor to consider)? Perhaps by means of such a respectful and peaceful compromise, the Sabbath desecrator will see the beauty of Yiddishkeit and repent of his ways. Indeed, often it is precisely the loss of a loved one and the obligation to come to shul on a daily basis to say kaddish that has led to many a ba’al teshuvah.

(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 IX)”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Car Smashed in A-Tur 2
4 Women Survive Near Lynch on Mount of Olives
Latest Judaism Stories
Daf-Yomi-logo

A Miraculous Visual Treat
‘They Lifted It Up To Show…’
(Chagiga 26b)

QuestionsandAnswers-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

Rapps-Rabbi-Joshua-logo

What right do I, sinner, have to approach Hashem and request forgiveness?

Lessons-in-Emunah-new

Throughout the war, Akiva had several brief furloughs home, and each time exchanged whichever mishnayos volume he had finished for the next in the series.

Imagine a man who, after having a few too many drinks, gets into his car and begins driving. It takes a while before he is pulled over, but finally the police arrest him, and he stands trial for driving while intoxicated.

Mr. Fisher contacted Rabbi Dayan. “Am I allowed to use money of ma’aser kesafim to pay the shul for an aliyah that I bought?” he asked.

In addition to Yom Kippur, there is at least one other instance when a person may fast on Shabbat – the case of a ta’anit chalom, in which a person wishes to fast to prevent an ominous dream from becoming reality.

Others suggest that one cannot separate Shabbos from Yom Kippur by accepting Shabbos early.

The call of the shofar is eternal. It is not musical. Its magnetic allurement cannot be explained.

Ba’al Shem Tov: “Hashem, too, is crying; as much as He is looking for us, we rarely look for Him.”

When we cry from the heart, someone listens; When we cry on Yom Kippur, God hears us.

Contrary to popular belief, the Talmud never explicitly limits the ban on footwear to leather shoes.

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 […]

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

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

More Articles from Rabbi Yaakov Klass
QuestionsandAnswers-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-ix/2013/04/04/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: