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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Hilchos Shabbos’

May Beis Din Punish On Shabbos?

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

The Yerushalmi, in Sanhedrin 4:6, derives from the pasuk in the beginning of this week’s parshah, “lo seva’aru eish b’chol moshvoseichem b’yom HaShabbos – and you shall not ignite a fire in any of your dwellings on Shabbos,” that Beis Din is prohibited from judging on Shabbos. The Rambam, in Hilchos Shabbos 24:7, rules that Beis Din may not carry out the punishment of either death or lashes on Shabbos. He cites the same pasuk of “lo seva’aru” as the source for this halacha. In his Sefer Hamitzvos the Rambam lists as a separate negative commandment (number 322) that Beis Din may not judge or carry out a punishment on Shabbos.

The simple understanding of this halacha is that even though it is a mitzvah to kill someone who is chayav misah (deserving death) on Shabbos, it is forbidden. Despite being a mitzvah it may not be performed on Shabbos, when killing is prohibited, since the Torah says that the Shabbos should not be desecrated for this purpose. However, the Minchas Chinuch asks why the Rambam lists this as a separate mitzvah, when in fact it is the regular prohibition of not killing on Shabbos. This implies that the prohibition to judge and carry out punishments is a new prohibition, separate from the prohibition to kill on Shabbos.

The Magen Avraham, in Orach Chaim 339:3, discusses this matter and proves that there is a new prohibition to judge and exact punishment on Shabbos. He cites the above mentioned Rambam in Hilchos Shabbos and points out that the Rambam includes in the prohibition that Beis Din may not administer lashes on Shabbos. The Magen Avraham says that there is no prohibition of giving someone lashes on Shabbos, but rather that this is forbidden because there is a new prohibition not to judge and punish on Shabbos. He concludes that this is not a clear proof since often, when Beis Din administers lashes bloody wounds are created – which is forbidden on Shabbos.

The Rashba, in Teshuvos 1:357, holds that Beis din may appoint a non-Jew to carry out their verdicts. This is because the one who carries out the punishment does not have to be a real shaliach of Beis Din; rather it merely must be done on their behalf. Reb Elchanon Wasserman, zt”l, Hy”d, in Kovetz Haurus 76:18, explains that Beis Din does not have to carry out the actual punishment; instead they must arrange for it to be executed, and therefore they may appoint someone who is not generally suitable for shalichus. Alternatively the Rashba can be explained, based on the ruling of the Nesivos Hamishpat (Choshen Mishpat 182:1) that says that a non-Jew is fit for shalichus when all that is required is an action. A non-Jew is only unfit for shalichus of a transaction. Therefore Beis Din may appoint a non-Jew to execute their punishments.

Several Achronim ask the following question concerning the ruling of the Rashba: The Gemara, in Yevamos 6b, implies that there is never a situation whereby Beis Din may execute the death penalty on Shabbos. Since Beis Din may appoint a non-Jew to carry out their punishments, why then can they not punish on Shabbos by appointing a non-Jew to kill? However, if we say that there is a separate prohibition to judge and punish on Shabbos, aside from the actual killing, then Beis Din would be prohibited to do so – even if they were to appoint a non-Jew to carry out their verdict.

The Mishnah in Sanhedrin 73a says that if one is chasing after another in an attempt to kill him, everyone must prevent the attempted murder by any means – even by taking the life of the attempted murderer. The Mishnah says that this halacha also applies when one is chasing after one of the arayos. If one is chasing another man on Shabbos, there is no doubt that the halacha applies and that he may be killed since it is a matter of pikuach nefesh. However the Mishneh L’melech says that he is unsure whether the halacha applies to one who is chasing after one of the arayos, since it is not a matter of pikuach nefesh. The reason that he says that perhaps one would not be allowed to kill someone who is chasing one of the arayos is because it is a punishment that cannot be administered on Shabbos.

For questions or comments, e-mail RabbiRFuchs@gmail.com.

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 3/14/08

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories by e-mail to rachel@jewishpress.comor by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 338 Third Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11215.

To all women, men or children who feel that they are at the end of their ropes, please consider joining a support group, or forming one.

Anyone wishing to make a contribution to help agunot, please send your tax deductible contribution to The Jewish Press Foundation.

Checks must be clearly specified to help agunot. Please make sure to include that information if that is the purpose of your contribution, because this is just one of the many worthwhile causes helped by this foundation.

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More Sparks . . . Reactions To Incredulous In Lakewood (Chronicles 2-15)

Dear Rachel,

You have finally addressed a major problem that is widespread in Jewish communities everywhere. Several years ago I recall a close friend of mine marrying a bochur with a sterling reputation as a mensch and talmid chochom, considered by everyone who knew him to have a brilliant mind.

I can clearly recall my friend confiding in me that as smart and learned as her husband was (he was sitting and learning at the time), she was dumbfounded by his lack of erudition in basic Halacha.

Today this is known to be a commonplace manifestation. I heard of one rebbe teaching in a girls’ school who advises his students to make sure to seek in a shidduch, not only one who is kovea itim (makes time for learning), but to make certain that he has one shiur in Gemara and another in Halacha. Now there’s one smart man! (Maybe he should be teaching the boys…)

Brooklyn, too, has its share

Dear Brooklyn,

While everyone should have a Rav whom to consult when confronted with a complicated halachic issue, how can anyone argue against preparedness for life’s common eventualities? (The Shulchan Aruch has long been our indispensable halachic guide, dealing extensively with situations typical of our daily lives.)

Dear Rachel,

Regarding the fire on the stove that went out and the gas that was being emitted − this letter allowed for a lively discussion around our Shabbos table and a pointed halachic discussion with my family. After a wonderful discussion back and forth I referred the resolution to the Shemirath Shabbos Kehilchasa. I add this as a benefit to your readers and hope that this could be a start to an in-depth review for everyone in the practical application of Hilchos Shabbos.

In Chapter 1 Paragraph 28, Rav Yehoshua Nuewirth writes that one may turn off the tap of a gas burner that has gone out, so as to stop the gas from escaping. He further writes that where possible, this should be done with a variation from the usual manner, for instance by turning off the tap with the back of the hand or with the elbow (See Feldheim English edition).

As a point of reference, this last comment is based on the Gemara in Shabbos 128b discussing assisting a woman in childbirth and comments that when she needs something, it should be done with a variation. This idea is to differentiate Shabbos from the rest of the week.

In Note 76 in the Hebrew edition, Rav Neuwirth addresses the issue of muktza and states that in a situation where one could be hurt, muktza does not exist. (There is further discussion of this.)

As a final thought, this action should be done by a responsible adult and not by a small child, since there is no melacha involved.

Regarding the comment about yeshivos and training minds, it should be noted that every yeshiva has time set aside each day for practical halacha. It is the responsibility of the member of the yeshiva to take advantage of this time and learn the responsible halachos and their applicability seriously.

May I wish you continued success as you continue to approach and discuss matters that arise in our community.

Hatzlacha,

Rabbi C.K.

Dear Rabbi,

Your thoughtfulness in conveying a vital lesson in Hilchos Shabbos to our wide readership is much appreciated.

While I confess my ignorance of yeshiva customs and learning procedures, I take it that when you say “it is the responsibility of the member of the yeshiva to take advantage of this time and learn the responsible halachos…” you refer to grown men and responsible adults, such as our husbands and sons who are learning in kollel. Why wouldn’t such study be made part of mandatory yeshiva education, as it generally is in girls’ high school curriculums?

It is especially suited to this time (Shabbos Zachor) to be reminded that the proper study of Torah will go a long way toward our goal of permanently stamping out every vestige of Amalek. Thanks to all who have taken the trouble to communicate their views on this subject.

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 2/15/08

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories by e-mail to rachel@jewishpress.com or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 338 Third Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11215.

To all women, men or children who feel that they are at the end of their ropes, please consider joining a support group, or forming one.

Anyone wishing to make a contribution to help agunot, please send your tax deductible contribution to The Jewish Press Foundation.

Checks must be clearly specified to help agunot. Please make sure to include that information if that is the purpose of your contribution, because this is just one of the many worthwhile causes helped by this foundation.

* * * * * * * * * *

Dear Rachel,

A few weeks back, an incident so infuriated me that I am finding myself still fuming.

My parents rent a home where the basement apartment is rented out to a kollel couple with three children. My married siblings had come for Shabbos with their families. In the afternoon, we began to sense the unmistakable odor of gas and checked the house for any possible source of leakage. Coming up empty, we wondered about the tenants downstairs. My mother went to see if maybe there was a problem there. When the door opened, there was no doubt as to where the smell of gas was coming from.

It turned out that a stove fire that had been left burning for Shabbos had gone out, but the burner’s knob was left to remain in the “on” position. When my mom inquired of the young woman why they didn’t simply turn the knob off, she replied that her husband, the man of the house, was adamant about not touching it on Shabbos!

My mother felt bad for their small children and asked if she could bring them upstairs, but her offer was rejected. And so she returned home where we were all, four children in diapers included, trying to cope with the increasingly nauseating stench and oncoming headaches.

My brother finally couldn’t take it anymore and marched down with his three-year old son. Much to the consternation of the ‘righteous and learned’ young man who eyed him with disdain, my brother had his son turn the stove burner (which wasn’t burning) off.

Hello??? Has anyone heard of the mitzvah of Pikuach Nefesh, of saving a life, a commandment that supersedes other prohibitions? How, in today’s day and age, can an adult be so incredibly naïve?!

Whew! Thanks, Rachel, for letting me vent.

Incredulous in Lakewood

Dear Incredulous,

It takes all kinds, for sure – sometimes, unfortunately, to the detriment of the innocent at the mercy of the naïve adults who bring them into this world.

Truth be told, part of the fault in this case lies with the learning institutions (not limited to Lakewood) which foolishly do not emphasize the proper study course for young men who need to prepare for their responsible head-of-household roles.

Instead of just focusing on training minds, yeshivos need to ensure that their male students be well versed in Hilchos Shabbos, Hilchos Bishul and the like. It is not enough (some would even say “over the top”) for our girls to be taught the Torah laws that encompass the ins and outs of daily living. The laws of kashrus as pertain to a household kitchen, for instance, should be considered mandatory studying in our young men’s yeshiva curriculum. A wife needs to be able to turn to her husband with confidence in his ability to address complex halachic issues.

Sitting and learning is, for the right person, a most praiseworthy endeavor. But priorities should be in place when it comes to the vital knowledge of practical and necessary laws as pertain to the role of a husband/father.

As to the incident you cite, there is absolutely no question that the stove could have and should have been turned off just as soon as it was discovered that the fire had gone out. Every wasted moment increased the hazard to precious lives. (Readers are reminded to check the working order of their carbon monoxide detectors or to make certain that they are appropriately installed.)

Thank you for writing and alerting us to the pitfalls in our midst.

This Week's Luach

Thursday, January 23rd, 2003

New York City
CANDLE LIGHTING TIME
Dec. 27, 2002 – 22 Teves 5763
4:15 p.m. E.S.T.
Sabbath Ends: 5:26 p.m. E.S.T.

Weekly Reading: Shemos
Weekly Haftara: Habaim Yashresh Yaakov (Yeshayahu 27:6-28:13;29:22-23)
Daf Yomi: Sanhedrin 107
Mishna Yomit: Bechoros 4:6-7
Halacha Yomit: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, 180:12
Rambam Yomi: Nusach Bircas Hamazon (to conclusion) – Hilchos Shabbos chapt. 1-2
Earliest time for Tallis and Tefillin: 6:20 a.m. E.S.T.
Latest Kerias Shema: 9:38 a.m. E.S.T.

This Shabbos is Shabbos Mevorchim. We bless the new moon, Rosh Chodesh Shevat is next Shabbos (1 day). The molad is Friday morning, 50 minutes and 14 chalakim (a chelek is 1/18 of a minute) past 9:00 a.m.

Friday evening, Kabbalas Shabbos and the usual Maariv tefilla with inclusion of Ya?aleh VeYavo in the Shemoneh Esreh. Birkas Hamazon: In the Grace After Meals we add Ya?aleh VeYavo, as well as mention of Rosh Chodesh in Beracha Acharona (Me?ein Shalos) at all times.
The following chapters of Tehillim are being recited by many congregations and Yeshivos for our brothers and sisters in Eretz Yisrael: Chapter 83, 130, 142.

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