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January 20, 2017 / 22 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘shabbat’

Haredi MK Blocks Train Funding over Shabbat Works

Monday, September 19th, 2016

Knesset Finance Committee Chairman MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) has not approved the transfer of $171 million to the new projects of Israel Railways, according to a Tweet by journalist Amalia Duek. Duek cites sources in the Transport Ministry who accuse Gafni of revenge tactics, saying the delay in payment would result in delays in carrying out the work in preparation for the new fast rail from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The Ministry is also concerned about potential lawsuits from contractors who haven’t been paid. MK Gafni, meanwhile, has told Duek he would examine the transfer request “when I see fit.”

Meanwhile, the renovation and preparation works continue full blast. At midnight Sunday Israel Railways shut down its three (out of four) stations in Tel Aviv for eight days, to be reopened a week from Tuesday. The massive project will match the stations and the rails passing through them with the new, electric, fast rail to Jerusalem.

Over the next eight days, the railway service will be running buses between Herzliya and Tel Aviv, in both directions, as well as buses from Herzliya to Ben Gurion International. Police on Monday morning reported worse than usual traffic delays in all the arteries leading into Tel Aviv.

The war between the Haredi coalition partners UTJ and Shas and Prime Minister Netanyahu over railway works that had been scheduled to be performed on Shabbat two weeks ago turned out to be a mere skirmish, as neither side was interested in fighting. However, the real battle ensued between Netanyahu and his Transport Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud), followed by a more reserved showdown with Welfare and Labor Minister Haim Katz (Likud). That internal fight in the Likud party was resolved with a win by points for Netanyahu (no knockouts, both ministers are still alive and kicking). Against this background, MK Gafni’s decision appears both vindictive and unhelpful.

Transport Ministry officials told Kikar Hashabbat that “if it turns out Gafni is operating out of political considerations we will view it seriously and act accordingly.”

Gafni, one of the most powerful committee chairmen in the Knesset, responded, “I’m not obligated to debate every agenda item that comes up. I will weigh it, and if the proposal has merit, the money would be transferred.” Which means the Railway will get the money eventually, because this is a government project, but the folks at Transport will have to sweat blood over it because of their Shabbat works fiasco.

According to Kikar Hashabbat, the Haredi parties are angrier at Police Commissioner Ronnie Alshich, an Orthodox Jew, more than anyone else, because Alshich was the one who came up with the idea that those works constituted “pikuach nefesh,” meaning saving a life, which is permitted on Shabbat. Which stands to show you, never go to a cop for halakhic rulings.

JNi.Media

Biblical Game of Thrones [audio]

Friday, September 9th, 2016

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

On this week’s show: Kings, Prophets, Priests, and Necromancers all compete for power – but who is top dog?? And is there a separation of Shul and State? Rabbi Yishai is joined by Rabbi Mike Feuer to discuss the Torah’s system of Israeli governance and how to balance Biblical politics with the commandment to walk simply with God. Plus, how to keep the fruit trees from being harmed in a time of war. Prepare for Shabbat with Spiritual Cafe!

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Yishai Fleisher

Shabbat, The Foundation Of Our Heritage

Thursday, September 8th, 2016

The term for Shabbat as an “Oasis in Time” belongs to Abraham J. Hershel. While describing the Shabbat and its beauty he suggested that the Shabbat is an oasis in time. For a brief moment, as we usher in the Shabbat, time, as we know it, stands still. All our unpaid bills, office hassles, and professional aggravations are put on hold as we dedicate one day to God.

For six days prior, we pretend to believe that we are in control of our lives and our destiny. We think we have the power to make choices and to effect change in this world – that we are in control of our own destiny. Shabbat comes along and sobers us up. It literally becomes a reality check. No, we are not in control. In reality, we can only affect a very small portion of our lives.

When I describe the central theme of Shabbat to my students, I always focus on that point: that Shabbat is a time when the Jewish People recognize their mortality and in essence declare that G-d is in control of the universe.

Almighty G-d is truly the one who shapes our destiny and the destiny of the entire world. When Shabbat enters, we acknowledge this with modesty and introspection. We recognize that we are only a speck in this great world and only a small impression in the unfolding of time.

For me Shabbat represents one of the foundations of Judaism. There are so many laws and concepts in Judaism that baffle me and that I have little understanding of. But Shabbat is the one practice in Judaism that resonates so clearly of its authenticity and truthfulness.

As an educator I have always believed that teachers should realize this as well. Shabbat is not a time to burden students with extra homework assignments. Instead, it is a time for students to focus on their families and the interrelationships of a successful family. When we really get down to it, the basis of all of Judaism is centered around the family. Synagogues and day schools are both important but they take a secondary role to the importance of one’s family. The essence of Shabbat is the uniting of one’s family; completing homework assignments only serves to take away from the spirit of the day.

In the secular world this idea became a reality in the small town of Ridgewood, N.J. Parents were so concerned and involved with the success of their children that they loaded them down with every conceivable extracurricular activity. They became “hyper” parents, transporting their children to and from sports, music and dance activities, losing site that they were destroying the very essence and fiber of what a family should be. They finally recognized that they were working against themselves. “Let’s plan a night where nothing is planned,” said Marcia Marra the original organizer of this evening. The idea was “designed to let families do whatever they wanted.” This would be a time when families would focus solely on improving the dynamics of their family. No baseball games, no ballet lessons, no band or sports activities – just a time to relate to what is really important in life: loved ones and family.

The experiment was successful. People started looking forward to doing it again next year. It afforded families a chance to step back and appreciate the true blessings that they had in their transient existence. It made them realize that all those extracurricular activities that they provided their children, though important, pales to the importance of the time spent with family.

The Jewish people were given this gift every week. Those Jews who take advantage of this great treasure savor every minute of it. They focus on the enduring aspects of their lives: our Torah, our families, and our children. For the Jewish people, the experiment in Ridgewood was not something new.

For us it is called the Shabbat, an oasis in time.

Rabbi Mordechai Weiss

Knesset to Hold Special Debate on Shabbat Train Crisis

Thursday, September 8th, 2016

After the signatures of more than 50 MKs havebeen submitted to the Knesset Secretariat, Speaker Yuli Edelstein decided to convene the plenum on September 19, while the Knesset is still in recess, to discuss motions for the agenda on the following topics:

1. The degradation of Shabbat and the harm caused to soldiers and civilians due to the train crisis

2. The political conduct of the government and the person at its helm caused severe harm to tens of thousands of soldiers and civilians

3. The hysterical conduct, lack of planning and waste of millions due to personal political considerations

The debate will be held in the presence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a.k.a. “the person at the helm.”

The Knesset Rules of Procedure determine that, in accordance with the Basic Law regarding the Knesset, when at least 25 MKs demand to convene the Knesset plenum during a recess, the Knesset Speaker will schedule a special debate.

David Israel

Haredi Interior Minister Plans Closing TA Businesses on Shabbat Save for 3 Malls

Tuesday, September 6th, 2016

After several years in which Israel’s coalition governments have not been rocked by battles over the status of Shabbat, the past two weeks have seen a possible reemergence of those old barricades, with both secular and religious politicians mouthing predictable platitudes about holiness and tradition vs. freedom and rights. In that context it should be noted that until Tuesday this week the Haredi parties did not look particularly eager to return to those tiresome confrontations, seeing as they had turned a blind eye for ten years on Shabbat works carried out by the Ministry of Transport, until the same ministry, intentionally or due to political myopia, made public its intentions to conduct massive works on Shabbat, complete with blocking off many of Tel Aviv’s vital traffic arteries.

Now Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas) has launched his own campaign in an attempt to torpedo the recommendations of a committee of experts that examined the Tel Aviv municipality’s bylaw which permits operating businesses in the city on Shabbat. Deri is advancing legislation to impose a sweeping ban on all businesses in Tel Aviv, including newsstands and kiosks, with the exception of three open air malls: Tel Aviv Harbor, Jaffa Harbor, and HaTachana Mall in Jaffa. The bill will also permit keeping open convenience store attached to gas stations.

The commission of directors of government ministries that was appointed to look at the Tel Aviv municipal bylaw will submit its findings sometime this September, and according to leaks in Israel’s media, those will include three recommendations: the first one recommends accepting a new bylaw crafted by the Tel Aviv municipality allowing 160 businesses to operate on Shabbat; the second recommends reducing the number of businesses currently permitted to operate by 20%; and the third recommendation, proposed by former Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar, to designate specific areas where businesses are permitted to stay open on Shabbat.

Once the committee recommendations are delivered, and the new Tel Aviv bylaw goes into effect, Interior Minister Deri will have 60 days to respond, after which the new law stays. Deri apparently plans to fight all three recommendations, even at the cost of eroding the Netanyahu coalition, and his staff has also been instructed to craft an atomic solution, to be used only if the coalition is certain to collapse, declaring Shabbat as the day of rest for all of Israel and barring everything that moves from doing it on Shabbat.

JNi.Media

Former Shas MK: Solve Train Problem the Jewish Way – Use Goyim

Monday, September 5th, 2016

Former MK Rabbi Haim Amsalem told the website Srugim Sunday that Jewish Law provides a simple and practical solution to the problem of performing crucial infrastructure labor on Israel’s railroads on Shabbat, a problem which was threatening the stability of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s coalition government: use gentile employees.

“The simplest solution would be to follow what Jewish Halakha says and facilitates,” Rabbi Amsalem advised. “In a country where 20% of the citizens are not Jewish, when there is a compelling need, we can utilize ‘goy shel Shabbat,’ (‘Shabbes goy’) for all the labor that involves the desecration of Shabbat. We’ve done this for hundreds of years, everybody is familiar with the concept — the gentiles would receive an increased pay and Jews wouldn’t be required to work on and desecrate the Shabbat,” Rabbi Amsalem said, noting that “everybody is for a modern and democratic Jewish State, so this should be a fitting solution.”

Rabbi Haim (Emile) Amsalem, 57, a native of French Algeria who immigrated to Israel in 1970, was among the founders of Shas and served as its MK, until, following a breakup with his colleagues, he launched his own party, Am Shalem (a play on his name, meaning “whole nation”) that failed to make it into the Knesset in the 2013 elections. He is considered a moderate Haredi who believes in a dialogue with secular Israelis.

“In general, it can be stated that the state institutions for the most part observe Shabbat, which is something anyone arriving in Israel from abroad notices. It may not be exactly as we want it to be, but we can’t focus only on the negative,” Amsalem told Srugim.

Pointing out that the law already provides for government to be able to issue permits for Shabbat work that relates to security, crucial economic concerns or any other matter affecting the public’s welfare, including hospitals, the power and the water utilities, Amsalem suggested that the clash over the railroad works over the past two Shabbat days was mostly about politics.

“In the end, those who cry out for the alleged honor of Shabbat ends up causing a much bigger, mass desecration. We strive to reach as broad an agreement as possible on the value of Shabbat, of its image and its respect by the public. Our role as rabbis is to take care of Shabbat observance, but when it is necessary we must find halakhic solutions that would facilitate a normative existence for society at large, and won’t cause hatred for Shabbat on the part of the public,” Amsalem said.

“In a Jewish State it is permissible to employ those for whom those vital works on Shabbat are permissible,” Amsalem concluded. “This way the needs of the modern state would be fulfilled while the demand of our Torah regarding Shabbat observance in public would be obeyed.”

JNi.Media

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

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/let-us-violate-shabbat-so-as-to-sanctify-it/2016/09/04/

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