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October 25, 2016 / 23 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘shabbat’

Let Us Violate Shabbat So As To Sanctify It

Sunday, September 4th, 2016

“He who wants to enter the holiness of the [Sabbath] day must first lay down the profanity of clattering commerce, of being yoked to toil. He must go away from the screech of dissonant days, from the nervousness and fury of acquisitiveness and the betrayal in embezzling his own life. He must say farewell to manual work and learn to understand that the world has already been created and will survive without the help of man. Six days a week we wrestle with the world, wringing profit from the earth; on the Sabbath we especially care for the seed of eternity planted in the soul. The world has our hands, but our soul belongs to Someone Else….

The seventh day is the exodus from tension, the liberation of man from his own muddiness, the installation of man as a sovereign in the world of time….

The Sabbaths are our great  cathedrals; and our Holy of Holies is a shrine that neither the Romans nor the Germans were able to burn…”

(Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Sabbath: Its Meaning for Modern Man [NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1951] pp. 13, 29, 8)

Shabbat is serious business, not only because of its halachic requirements but also because of its magnificent and majestic message. To violate it is not just a transgression but a tragedy. Its desecration undermines what it means to be human and to be a real Jew. It deprives mankind of its own sublimity.

It is not the renouncement of technical progress that Shabbat requires but rather the attainment of some degree of independence from an ever-increasing race and cruel struggle for our physical existence, in which we are all involved and which denies us embracing the presence of an eternal moment.

There is only one sanctity that is even greater than Shabbat and that is the holiness of the human being. When we have to choose between these two sanctities, Jewish law is clear: The human being takes precedence. (Yoma 85b; Rambam, Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Shabbat 2:3)

If it is true that the Tel Aviv Light Rail and the high-speed train connecting Tel Aviv and Yerushalayim will indeed save countless human lives by having people switch from car to rail, Halacha will without any doubt demand of us to work on Shabbat to complete construction as soon as possible. Any postponement would be a terrible violation of Halacha itself.

But as Jews, let us make it into a celebration. We can observe Shabbat while working on this holy day. Instead of asking non-Jews to take our place, let us gather as many religious Jews as possible to join in this undertaking and do this work in the spirit of Shabbat and Halacha. Here are some suggestions:

We can organize shacks at the work sites where some people will make Kiddush and where a special Shabbat atmosphere will be created and tasteful Shabbat meals, kept warm according to the laws of Shabbat, will be served. There will be alternate minyanim where the workers can hear the reading of the parsha and say their Shabbat prayers in shifts. Participants can sing Shabbat songs and someone can say a nice d’var Torah informing everyone of the great mitzvah they are performing by working on the holy Shabbat so as to save lives.

Lets us give all the workers colored Shabbat helmets and ask all others who stand by to give instructions to wear nice kippot.

There can be flags and ribbons flying and large posters displayed at the work sites proclaiming: “The people of Israel shall keep the Shabbat, observing the Shabbat throughout the ages as a covenant for eternity.”(Shemot 31:16);“And one shall live by them [My laws]” (Vayikra 18:5)… “and not die because of them.” (Sanhedrin 74a)

Let us make a Jewish celebration out of this. We can show our fellow Israelis and the world that we love Shabbat but that it will not stand in the way of the sanctity of human life. It will actually advance our spirit and commitment to Judaism. Let us reveal that Halacha can deal with the requirements of a modern democratic Jewish state in an unprecedented way.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Let us not fail to live up to the challenge of making us all proud to be committed Jews.

After all, is it not Shabbat that made us Jews and that now gives meaning to the State of Israel? Why, in fact, be Jewish if not for this great institution called Shabbat?

Sure, some of my readers will say that these suggestions are insane. But let us not forget what philosopher and writer George Santayana once said: Sanity is madness put to good use.

Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo

Meretz Chairwoman Forced Supreme Court to Work on Shabbat

Sunday, September 4th, 2016

Meretz Chairwoman MK Zahava Galon forced the Israeli Supreme Court to desecrate Shabbat, with an appeal which was already irrelevant when she filed it, argued pundit, author and Holocaust scholar Itamar Levin in a column he published on the News1 website.

Galon appealed to the court on Shabbat day, Sept. 3, asking that it order the Ministry of Transport to carry out the scheduled works on the Railroad infrastructure which had been halted on Friday night due to Haredi party pressure. “This meant that the employee on call at the reception had to receive the appeal and pass it to the Justice on call, which happened to be Anat Baron,” Levin wrote, suggesting this could also mean that the people on call in the Justice’s chambers had to work on Shabbat as well.

But, as turns out from the Justice’s ruling, also given on Shabbat, the appeal was not urgent and did not justify forcing a state employee to desecrate Shabbat. Justice Baron wrote: “The appeal was submitted today, Shabbat day, at 3 PM. When it was submitted, the infrastructure works had been ceased yesterday, following the prime minister’s order shortly before the start of Shabbat. Under these circumstances there is no point in issuing the requested injunction in response to a situation which the appellant claims was created on this weekend.”

Justice Baron instead ordered the State to respond by Monday, Sept. 5, to Galon’s appeal for an injunction — an appeal she could have submitted Saturday night, Levin wrote.

Israeli courts, including the Supreme Court, maintain skeletal Shabbat and Holiday shifts to respond to the most urgent needs. These include police requests for injunctions to prevent the smuggling of children, or for arrest warrants. But Levin wrote that he did not recall any other time when the Supreme Court was compelled to desecrate Shabbat to deal with an administrative issue such as the works on the railroad.


Everything You Wanted to Know About the Shabbat Train Coalition Crisis – and Weren’t Afraid to Ask

Sunday, September 4th, 2016

The Shabbat infrastructure railroad works that have rocked Israeli politics over the past two weeks have been going on quietly during Shabbat for the past ten years, with the Haredim turning a blind eye on them, and everybody remaining happy. Now at least two wars are being waged over the same routine works, one between Prime Minister Netanyahu and Transport Minister Yisrael Katz, the other between UTJ and Shas and the Prime Minister and Transport Minister — because the rule of thumb for Israel’s Haredi parties is that as soon as a government violation of Shabbat is exposed publicly, it must stop or the Haredim walk. That was the reason the Haredim stood up on their hind legs a week ago, when the Israel Train Company announced delays in entering Tel Aviv on Shabbat due to infrastructure work that could not be done during the week.

The Israel Railways corporation is state-owned. It means that, unlike the privately owned bus and taxi services, which operate during some or all of Shabbat, depending on the city, the railroad must obey the laws of Shabbat, at least as long as the Haredim are part of government. “Had the railroad company continued to perform those projects quietly, without media attention, the Haredim would have kept quiet,” a source inside UTJ told JNI.media. “But as soon as it became known, no Haredi party could remain in government with those works going on.”

This was the root of the crisis which on Sunday morning is paralyzing traffic across Israel. Someone at the IR decided to make a big announcement — most likely because they had the public’s interest in mind. The infrastructure works necessitated closing down Rt. 20, an eight-lane highway that cuts through the Tel Aviv metropolitan area and on Shabbat ushers in thousands of shoppers and entertainment seekers from around Israel.

As soon as they became public, those railroad projects turned into a ticking bomb. Last week, the Haredim accommodated the Netanyahu government, because, frankly, Netanyahu has been the most pro-Haredi prime minister ever, and anyone who would replace him would necessarily be harder to work with. So they agreed to the concept that there were some infrastructure projects that had to be carried out on Shabbat, because on regular weekdays they would threaten the lives of the thousands of motorists roaming nearby.

The following Thursday, before the most recent Shabbat, the Haredi parties again examined the planned works and approved three out of the 20 proposed projects as, in fact, constituting risk to lives on weekdays.

But over the past week there were growing voices in the Haredi community that expressed doubt regarding the very idea that the secular Transport Ministry, which is not run by rabbis, would rule on halakhic issues such as Pikuach Nefesh (Heb: saving a life). As a result, those three approved projects received added scrutiny from the Haredi politicians, who concluded they were no different from the rest and should be carried out on weekdays as well.

The former chief rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Yisrael Lau, told Israel Radio that secular politicians are trying to “hold the stick on both its ends,” a Talmudic term meaning trying to argue both ends against the middle. On the one hand, Rabbi Lau said, secular politicians are demanding that businesses be permitted to stay open on Shabbat, because Shabbat is the only time hundreds of thousands of Israelis are able to pack Tel Aviv in search of shopping, dining and a good show; on the other hand, Shabbat is when those railroad works should be carried out because that’s when the city is empty, and none would be harmed from potential work accidents.

The train infrastructure works which began at 5:30 PM Friday, were interrupted two hours later by an order from the prime minister’s office, after Shabbat had already begun. These works constituted the three out of 20 projects which the Haredi Parties initially agreed were dangerous to life had they been carried out during the week, but then those same Haredim had a change of mind and/or heart, at the very last minute, literally.

Initially, the PM’s office and the Transport Ministry ordered the Israel Train Company to proceed with the works into Shabbat, as had been the case every month for the past 10 years. A group of 200 employees arrived at 5:30 PM at the railroad track segment between Tel Aviv and Hertzlia, and started to take it apart. But later that same early evening, the Haredi parties announced they reject the compromise, which is why at 6:30 PM, moments before the start of Shabbat, the PM’s office ordered the work to stop.

The order reached the workers at the site at about 7:30 PM, and they dropped everything and left. No one bothered to consider what would happen Saturday night and Sunday, since it would take about 25 hours to complete the work. A similar infrastructure project near Atlit, south of Haifa, was likewise interrupted Friday night.

So, who is the real culprit in this crisis? The Haredim for insisting that a government in which they are members not openly desecrate Shabbat? The Prime Minister’s office, which capitulates to Haredi pressure because this coalition is probably the best political combination Netanyahu could have hoped for, and he’s not giving it up over one day’s suffering by Israeli passengers? Or is it Transport Minister Katz, who chose to turn an ordinary, behind the scenes project that’s been going on uninterrupted — into a full-blown coalition crisis?

We suggest all of the above. And the solution to this crisis will probably be the firing of Transport Minister Katz, because he started it, looking to erode the boss’s coalition. Expect blood — Yisrael Katz has friends inside Likud, who may rise up to defend him, as Welfare Minister Haim Katz has already done.


The Keys to the Jewish Kingdom Tour [photos]

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

If you’re touring Israel and don’t go inside a Hamas terror tunnel and visit an Iron Dome installation, it’s like going to Disney World without buying the special backstage pass to see the Magic Kingdom’s underground Utilidor tunnels and other hidden areas.

U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon visited southern Israel on August 29, 2016.

He stopped at the Kerem Shalom crossing point to see how goods enter and leave the Gaza Strip.

He was briefed on and toured a Hamas tunnel that had been discovered by the IDF.

He met with local residents from several communities at Kibbutz Or HaNer, and at the Kibbutz he toured the Ornit factory.

He also visited an Iron Dome battery (but wasn’t allowed to press the red button).

That’s the Jewish Kingdom’s backstage pass tour. Beats Disney any day of the week – especially Shabbat.

Thomas Shannon in Southern Israel

Thomas Shannon in Southern Israel

Photo of the Day

Netanyahu OKs Major Road Works on Shabbat with Tacit Haredi Approval

Friday, August 26th, 2016

After a tense night of negotiations, on Friday morning Prime Minister Netanyahu announced that he succeeded in resolving the potential coalition crisis with the two Haredi parties in his government over work that had been scheduled for Shabbat at the Derekh HasHalom (Heb: Peace Road) train station in Tel Aviv. The resolution was that works which must be carried out because of risk to human life will proceed on schedule on Shabbat, while other works will be delayed until after Shabbat.

The Prime Minster’s office released a statement announcing the establishment of a new committee, headed by Netanyahu’s chief of staff Yoav Horowitz, to look into enhancing communication between the Ministry of Transport and the Haredi factions.

Haredi party officials have told Walla that “the crisis is behind us. The Prime Minster’s announcement was made in full coordination with us. We see it as our success, when Netanyahu announces that works which do not pose risk to human life will not be carried out on Shabbat.”

Members of Netanyahu’s inner circle have reportedly requested that the Haredim not turn the resolution into a victory celebration, and so they have maintained a restrained response.

Over the past 24 hours, Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas), Health Minister Yakov Litzman and MK Moshe Gafni (both from UTJ) sent Netanyahu an urgent letter Thursday night, demanding a halt to the works on Shabbat, warning of a possible coalition collapse. “Should these works be performed by order of the Israeli government, causing public desecration of Shabbat, this would constitute a serious precedence and a blatant violation of the status quo,” they wrote.

What ensued was a back-and-forth debate as to who is in fact in charge of making Shabbat-work decisions: Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, Welfare Minister Haim Katz, who is in charge of Work and Rest decisions, or Prime Minister Netanyahu. They approached Attorney General Avichai Mandelblitt who ruled that the authority is, indeed, with Haim Katz, but since this constitute a coalition breaking issue, it should be sent up to the PM.

David Israel

When Tisha B’Av falls on Shabbat or Sunday

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

{Originally posted to the Aish HaTorah website}

Note: The following laws are based on Ashkenazi tradition, and some points are subject to varying opinion. When in doubt, AYLOR (ask your local Orthodox rabbi)

1. What are the main changes when Tisha B’Av falls on Shabbat or Sunday?

When Tisha B’Av falls on Shabbat, the main changes are:

  • The fast is postponed until Sunday.
  • Bathing is permitted on Rosh Chodesh.
  • Marital relations are forbidden on Friday night.
  • Washing any part of the body with hot water is forbidden on Shabbat.

When Tisha B’Av falls on Shabbat or Sunday, the main changes are:

  • There is no special Seuda Hamafseket before the fast.
  • Some of the laws of Tisha B’Av begin only at nightfall on Saturday night, instead of at sunset.
  • Havdalah is postponed until Sunday night.

2. When Tisha B’Av falls on Shabbat and is postponed until Sunday, is the preceding week considered as “the week in which Tisha B’Av occurs”?

There are different opinions about this. Therefore:

One should be strict about this concerning laundering and haircuts.

One may be lenient about matters concerning cutting nails and making clothes. As for meat and wine, Sefardim could eat without restriction; for Ashkenazim certain leniencies apply (for example, regarding who can eat meat at a Bris).

3. May a woman immerse in a mikveh on Friday night that is Tisha B’Av?

Yes. In this case, marital relations are permitted.

4. Are there any changes to the prayers in this situation?

Tzidkas’cha is not said at Mincha.

Pirkei Avot is not said at Mincha.

5. May one hold a public kiddush on this Shabbat?

If the kiddush can be held on a different Shabbat, it is preferable to defer it.

If the kiddush cannot be held on a different Shabbat — e.g. for an aufruff (groom prior to his wedding), it is permitted.

6. May one eat meat and drink wine at the Shabbat meals?

Yes. This is permitted even at Seuda Shlishit.

7. May one invite guests to the Shabbat meals?

Yes. However, one should not invite guests for Seuda Shlishit unless he does so regularly.

8. May one sing zemirot at the Shabbat meals?

Yes. This is permitted even at Seuda Shlishit.

9. May one go for a stroll on this Shabbat?

When the ninth of Av is Sunday, one may not go for a stroll on Shabbat after halachic noon.

When the ninth of Av is Shabbat, one may not go for a stroll at any time of the day.

10. May one visit family or friends?


11. May one learn Torah on this Shabbat?

Before halachic midday, it is permitted to learn Torah.

After halachic midday, many opinions permit learning Torah. If a person can limit himself to the topics that are permitted on Tisha B’Av, it is praiseworthy.

It is permitted to read the weekly parsha and its translation all day.

12. May one take pills on Shabbat to alleviate the pains of fasting?

It is permitted to take them on Shabbat until sunset only if they are mixed with a food or drink. One should preferably prepare the mixture before Shabbat.

One may take them without water even on Saturday night, unless they are pleasant tasting.

13. May a communal Seuda Shlishit be held in shul?

No. Everyone should eat at home.

14. Are there any changes to Seuda Shlishit?

Although any food may be served, including meat and wine, and zemirot may be sung, the mood should be somewhat subdued.

A person should not say that he is eating in order to have strength to fast, but he may think this.

One must stop eating and drinking before sunset, since the fast begins at this time. People should be reminded about this, as it is unlike a regular Shabbat.

15. Must one say Grace After Meals before sunset?

It is permitted to say the Grace after sunset, but one should try to wash mayim acharonim (after waters) before sunset, if possible.

16. May one say Grace After Meals with a 3-man zimun?

Yes (unlike when the eve of Tisha B’Av falls on a regular weekday, where one should not make a zimun).

17. May one eat or drink after Seuda Shlishit?

If one said Grace After Meals before sunset, one may eat or drink until sunset. It is not necessary to have this in mind when saying Grace After Meals.

18. Which prohibitions of Tisha B’Av commence at sunset?

All the prohibitions except wearing shoes and sitting on a chair commence at sunset. These two activities are permitted until nightfall.

19. When should one change one’s shoes and Shabbat clothes?

There are two customs:

Some go to shul before nightfall and begin Ma’ariv at the usual time of Saturday night. The chazzan should say “baruch hamavdil bein kodesh lechol,” remove his shoes, and then say “barchu.” The congregation should respond to “barchu” and then remove their shoes. Care must be taken not to touch one’s shoes when removing them. The Shabbat clothes are not removed until one returns home after Ma’ariv. This is the prevalent custom in the Diaspora.

Some shuls delay the commencement of Ma’ariv, allowing people to remain at home until nightfall. At the time of nightfall, everyone should say the phrase “baruch hamavdil bein kodesh lechol,” remove his shoes, and change into weekday clothes before Ma’ariv. This is the prevalent custom in Israel.

20. According to the first custom, may one bring Tisha B’Av footwear to shul before Ma’ariv?

Even if there is an eiruv this is forbidden, since one may not prepare on Shabbat for after Shabbat. It is also forbidden to change one’s shoes before going to shul, since this is disgracing the Shabbat. It is therefore advisable to leave suitable footwear in shul before Shabbat to wear after Shabbat.

21. Is the blessing recited over the spices?

No. It is forbidden to smell spices, since a person must refrain from such a pleasure on Tisha B’Av.

22. Is the blessing recited over a Havdalah candle?

Yes. According to one custom, it is recited in shul before the reading of Lamentations. According to another custom, it is recited at home before Ma’ariv, if there is time. According to some opinions, the blessing should be recited over two regular candles and not over a braided Havdalah candle.

23. May one wash the Shabbat dishes on Saturday night?

No. They may not be washed until Tisha B’Av afternoon.

24. Should a person who is not fasting recite Havdalah before eating?

Yes. However, if he only needs to drink water throughout the fast, he should not recite Havdalah.

25. Should such a person recite Havdalah immediately after Shabbat. or wait until he needs to eat?

He should wait until he needs to eat.

26. When needing to eat on the fast day [in this case, Sunday the 10th of Av], which sections of Havdalah are recited?

The introductory verses and the blessing over spices should be omitted. The blessing over a candle should be omitted if he already recited or heard it at the termination of Shabbat, or if he is reciting Havdalah during the day.

27. Should Havdalah be recited over wine, grape juice, or another drink?

According to most opinions, beer is the most preferred drink.

If this is not possible, some opinions prefer the use of a drink that has national importance. (A rabbi should be consulted to ascertain which drinks qualify for this purpose.) Other opinions question the use of such drinks, and prefer the use of grape juice.

If nothing else is available, wine may be used.

28. If wine or grape juice is used, should the cup be given to a child to drink?

If a child above the age of six is available, the cup should be given to him.

If not, the person who recites Havdalah should drink the cup himself.

29. How much of the cup should be drunk?

A cheekful only.

30. Are children obligated to recite Havdalah before they eat?

According to most opinions, they do not recite Havdalah before eating.


31. After the fast, may one eat or drink before Havdalah?

With the exception of water, it is forbidden to eat or drink anything before Havdalah.

32. Which drink should be used for Havdalah?

One should use wine or grape juice. The person who recites Havdalah should drink the cup himself.

33. Which parts of Havdalah are recited?

Only the two blessings “borei p’ri hagafen” and “hamavdil.” The introductory verses are omitted, as are the blessings over the spices and candle.

34. When are the various restrictions lifted?

Some are permitted immediately upon completion of the fast (e.g. bathing, laundry and haircuts), while others remain prohibited until the following morning (meat, wine and music).

*Excerpted from “Guidelines” – over 400 commonly asked questions about the Three Weeks (Targum/Feldheim).

{The authors, Rabbis Elozor Barclay and Yitzchok Jaeger of Jerusalem, wrote the bestselling series, ‘Guidelines,’ on the laws and customs of the Jewish Holidays and essential areas of everyday Jewish life.}

Guest Author

When Tisha B’Av Occurs On Shabbat Or Sunday

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

Five tragedies occurred on Tisha B’Av. It was decreed that those who left Egypt would not enter the land of Israel, the first and second Temples were destroyed, the city of Betar was captured with thousands massacred, and Turnus Rufus plowed the site of the razed Temple. Consequently, Tisha B’Av was declared a day of national mourning and a fast day.

The fast of Tisha B’Av begins at sunset on the night preceding the fast day itself. In order to prepare oneself for the fast, the accepted custom on a weekday is to eat a regular meal without meat and wine before Minchah. Following Minchah, the last meal before the fast, the seudah mafseket, is consumed.

This meal, eaten sitting on the floor, consists of bread, water, and an egg dipped in ashes. The seudah mafseket may not be eaten as a family meal but rather as an individual one, each person in his or her own corner with Birkat HaMazon recited by each person for himself without a mezuman.

When Tisha B’Av occurs on Shabbat, the fast is postponed. It begins on Motzaei Shabbat and ends Sunday night. When the fast is postponed to Sunday or when Tisha B’Av occurs on Sunday, the final meal eaten before the beginning of the fast is the seudah shelishit, the third meal of Shabbat.

Since it is still Shabbat, during which mourning is prohibited, none of the restrictions of the seudah mafseket described above apply. Accordingly, one may eat meat, drink wine, sit around the table, and recite Birkat HaMazon with a mezuman, and there is no requirement to dip an egg in ashes. The only difference between this seudah shelishit and others eaten during the year is that this one must be terminated before the sun sets and the fast begins.

Because the words of Torah gladden the heart, studying Torah is forbidden when Tisha B’Av is on a weekday, except for passages in Scripture that deal with the destruction of the Temple and other calamities. When Erev Tisha B’Av or Tisha B’Av itself occurs on Shabbat, Torah may be studied, without restriction, on Shabbat morning and, according to many opinions, also on Shabbat afternoon. At Minchah on Shabbat Tisha B’Av or Shabbat Erev Tisha B’Av, the prayer Tzidkotchah is omitted as well as Pirkei Avot.

When Erev Tisha B’Av or Tisha B’Av itself occurs on Shabbat, the prayer V’he Noam is omitted because it was composed for recital at the inauguration of the Temple, whereas Tisha B’Av commemorates the destruction of the Temple. The prayer of Vayitein Lechah is also omitted. Kaddish Shalem is recited without Titkabel.

The procedure with Havdalah is as follows: For those who are fasting, first, the Havdalah blessing, Ata Chonantanu, is recited in the Amidah. Then, before reciting Megillat Eichah, the blessing Borei Me’orei Ha’esh is recited over candlelight but the other blessings usually recited at Havdalah are omitted. Neither wine nor besamim is used on this Motzaei Shabbat. On the evening following the fast, Sunday night, the Havdalah blessing that was omitted on Motzaei Shabbat is recited over wine, but neither flame nor besamim is used. Those who are not required to fast recite Havdalah on Motzaei Shabbat but use a Chamar Medinah beverage (such as tea, coffee, or beer).

When Tisha B’Av occurs on a weekday, leather shoes are removed before sunset. When Erev Tisha B’Av or Tisha B’Av occurs on Shabbat, individuals, in order not to display signs of mourning on Shabbat, remove their leather shoes at Ma’ariv after reciting Barchu. The chazzan first recites Baruch Hamavdil bein Kodesh Lechol and then removes them before Barchu.

When Tisha B’Av occurs on a weekday, Tachanun is omitted at Minchah on Erev Tisha B’Av and on Tisha B’Av itself, just as it is not recited on a day of celebration. This is because we believe the Temple will eventually be rebuilt on Tisha B’Av, which will then become a day of celebration.

Raphael Grunfeld

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/when-tisha-bav-occurs-on-shabbat-or-sunday-3/2016/08/11/

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