Volume 20 Number 94
                       Produced: Wed Aug  9 22:16:48 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Chillul Shabbat
         [Turkel Eli]
Saving a Life on Shabbat
         [Carl Sherer]
Saving a Mechalel Shabbos
         [Micah Gersten]


From: Turkel Eli <turkel@...>
Date: Wed, 9 Aug 1995 09:45:46 -0400
Subject: Chillul Shabbat

    As an addendum to the excellent survey of Himmelstein on violating
shabbat for non-religious Jews I wish to point out that a major
application is to doctors. Those who object to being mechallel shabbat
for Peres would have to say that it a doctor would be prohibited to
violate shabbat to save the life of someone driving on shabbat who was
then involved in a car accident.

   Avi Wachtfogel brings up the question of asking others to do work on
shabbat for them. Again, besides the Israeli army this has many
applications to doctors. I recall a responsa from Rav Chaim David Halevi
in his set "Aseh lecha rav" where he discusses the issue. His conclusion
is that though in theory one should not ask a nonreligious Jew to cover
for shabbat nevertheless in practice he permits it. He also says

>> However since there are many other chayalim who are willing to
>> follow these orders, the government has the option of using those
>> soldiers instead and therefore it is false to say that the psak will
>> lead to a civil war

   There are rumors in the Israeli press of special units being
organized to evacuate settlers and that these units exclude religious
soldiers. Is that what we want?

Eli Turkel


From: <adina@...> (Carl Sherer)
Date: Tue, 1 Aug 95 0:13:14 IDT
Subject: Re: Saving a Life on Shabbat 

The enclosed is a dialogue between Rabbi Michael Broyde and myself
regarding my post relating to Pikuach Nefesh and Chillul Shabbat.  In
order to aid the reader, I am inserting into the post which comments
were mine and which were Rabbi Broyde's.  (I have also edited the
dialogue to eliminate those matters which should not concern the rest of
the list).  I wish to thank Rabbi Broyde publicly for helping me to
flesh out my position in a manner which I hope will be correctly
understood by all.  All mistakes are strictly mine.  I hope that this
message will answer some of the posts which my previous post on the
subject engendered.

Rabbi Broyde:

> I fully agree with your assertion that the decision as to whether any
> particular case justifies chillul shabbat should only be made by a
> religious Jew vested in both the factual reality at hand and a strong
> halachic sense; whether this is beyond dispute or not is a dispute
> between various contemporary poskim as to what to do when medical
> advice is in conflict.  I have no problem with that.  I do not think
> that that is what you said in your initial post, but it is possible
> that I was misreading it.  I have written some comments into your
> letter, none of which I found out of bounds in any way

> Thank your for your response, and I urge you to post on this in a way 
> that clarifies both of our possiitons.
> Michael Broyde

Rabbi Broyde:
 In essence, you argue that a person who intentionally desicrates
shabbat with the knowledge that others will have to desecrate the
shabbat too, forfits his right to have have his life saved.  You would,
for example, rule that a person who in full mental capacity attempts to
take his own life on shabbat aware that others will violate shabbat to
save him, need not have shabbat violated to save him (indeed, you would
claim that it is prohibited to save him.)

Carl Sherer: 
 This was not what I was trying to argue.  I fully agree that where
there is immediate danger to life that there is no question that chillul
Shabbos ought to be permitted (and the letter from the person citing the
Yaavetz notwithstanding, it appears that most people hold that way,
including a specific tshuva on that point from R. Moshe Feinstein zt"l).

Rabbi Broyde:
 I posted in reply to Haim a list of sources on this topic; the vast
majority of halachic authorities agree with Rav Moshe and Rav Waldenberg
on this and mandate shabbat desicration for a suicide.

Carl Sherer:
 What I
was trying to argue - albeit with no sources to that point - was that when
the danger to life is NOT immediate, the standard we use to determine
whether or not we are mechalel Shabbos *ought* to be higher.
 upon further examination I have found sources to support this
proposition.  Rav Noivert shlita in Shmiras Shabbos K'Hilchasa (Chapter
32 Note 2) brings a Chazon Ish in Hilchos Oholos in which the Chazon Ish
states (in loose translation) "It is not considered an instance of safek
pikuach nefesh when something is in the future, but in the present it
has no applicability, and therefore we do not [violate Shabbos] for
distant possibilities."  In the same Chapter at Note 67, Rav Noivert
brings Rav P. Epstein zt"l in discussing a "security danger" who states
that it is permitted to violate Shabbos in such a situation (presumably
where there is no *immediate* danger to life - since if there were
*immediate* danger no such determination would apparently be required)
"specifically if it is agreed by G-d fearing people, and not by those
who shirk the yoke of Mitzvos" (again my loose translation).  In Chapter
41 Paragraph 40, Rav Noivert summarizes the dichotomy in which a soldier
in time of emergency is likely to find himself by citing two different
explanations for "Vechai Bahem" - that one should live and not die from
the Mitzvos (on the one hand) and that one should merit olam haba (the
world to come) because of the Mitzvos.

Rabbi Broyde:
  Once again, I fully agree with this (but recognize that there is a
spectrum; see for example, the Nishmat Avraham on what to do when
medical advice is in conflict).

There is nearly no halachic support for the proposition [that one ought
not save the life of a Jew who attempts to commit suicide on Shabbat C.S.]
see Volume 3 of
the J. Halacha and Contemporary Society for a fine article on this point.
In general, the only way you could successfully argue your point, is to 
posit that such a person is a mumar or an apikores, and like all mumarim 
and apikorsim, need not be saved.  Halacha lemase, it is my sense that 
the poskim have continuously rejected the argument that regular secular 
jews are in that category; we consider them tenokot shenishbu.  If that 
really is your posture, say that.  Otherwise, I fail to see how you can 
justify depriving a Jew of his right to be save, merely because he both 
desicrates shabbat and encourages or even mandates others to do the same. 

Carl Sherer: 
 That is not my posture (a couple of posts to the contrary
notwithstanding) although I have been told by a friend who works in the
Baal Tshuva movement that Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv shlita (one of the
MAJOR poskim in Israel today) does in fact hold that there is no such
thing as tinok shenishba ("a baby who was imprisoned among the
non-Jews") for native-born Israelis today.

Rabbi Broyde:
	I, frankly, do not believe your friend in the name of Rav 
Elyashiv.  But it is neither here nor there, as they say.

Carl Sherer:
  I would hesitate to take such a position because it has VERY
serious ramifications (and because the same friend told me that Rav
Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt"l disagreed with it), but you should know that
there are at least some poskim here who DO hold that way.

Rabbi Broyde:
 I do not believe it; the published literature is quite extensive on this 
issue and would be surprised if Rav Elyashiv had a posture on this 
categorically against the Chazon Ish's.  I would wait for the teshuva in 
print; particularly those poskim who rarely write get easily misquoted.

Rabbi Broyde:
 Indeed, I can think of other cases were your rule would be of 
considerable ramifications; your basic rule is that one who causes 
another to deliberately violate shabbat by his actions loses his 
right to have shabbat violated to save him, if he too is a desicrator.  

Carl Sherer:
No, I would not hold that.

Rabbi Broyde:
 Would this be true for the driver of the shabbat bus in Haifa?  A reform 
Rabbi who has a fellow jew pick him up and drive him to shul shabbat 

Carl Sherer:
 No, if chas v'Shalom one of these people were in an accident, I would agree
that they could be saved.  However, I would argue that while it would be
permitted to maintain an ambulance service on Shabbos which would also 
serve other people who were not engaged in chillul Shabbos (i.e. one
would not have to sit at home waiting for a call that an accident had
occurred - cf. Rav Moshe Feinstein zt"l's tshuva regarding "Hatzolah"
service in New York), I would argue that it is not permitted to patrol
the roads to prevent these people from getting into accidents in the
first place (most drivers do not get into accidents), that it is
certainly not permitted to write tickets for traffic violations on
Shabbos, and that it is not permitted to station ambulances by the
roadside *on Shabbos* (as opposed to before Shabbos) for the purpose 
of being available when and if these people chas v'shalom get into 

Rabbi Broyde:
 	Even this is a very big chidush; let us assume a major 
intersection that has one near fatal accident an hour.  The accidents are 
so dangerous that if not placed in an ambulance within 30 seconds all 
victims will die, and if placed in such an ambulance, all will live.  It 
would surprise me very much if any posek prohibited driving that 
ambulance on shabbat to the intersection.  Indeed, none of the sources I 
have seen, or that you cite say that; what they say is "in such a case, 
check with a rav."  What they are worried about is manipulation of the 
statistics by secular jews to permit chillul shabbat for what in reality 
is low risk.  Do you not agree with that?  Do you really think that there 
is source prohibiting chillul shabbat in such a case.  The best that I 
see is "tzarich shelat chacham," which is not the same as assur.

Carl Sherer:
I think you're positing an extreme case (and that the first line of defense
to solving it would be to station ambulances at the intersection *before*
Shabbos).  But obviously in such a case one would have to consult with a
competent posek who, I would postulate, would not permit such chillul Shabbos
in advance unless he was convinced that in fact the statistics were *not*
being manipulated.
  I would certainly NOT argue that it is forbidden to violate the
Shabbos to save these people's lives in a case of clear and present
(i.e. immediate) danger.  Obviously the answer to all such questions
must be be to consult a qualified posek.

Carl Sherer:
 My understanding of the Israeli army's standards for what dati soldiers
may and may not be asked to do on Shabbos indicates that they see a
difference as well, although again if anyone has sources that give a
halachic standard for this I'd be interested in seeing them.

Rabbi Broyde:
 I am not an expert on Israeli army law, but as I understand it, the
army will engage in violations of shabbat, but will not compel
religious soldiers to participate.  That is the standard explain in
Hatzava Kehilchata, which reproduces many army regulations on this point.

Carl Sherer:
 Actually they do make a distinction (although I have been unable to locate
Hatzava Kehilchata or Dinei Tzava U'Milchama to this point) between what
they will and will not ask dati soldiers to do.  Having said that, I
should add that both Rav Noivert in Shmiras Shabbos (Chapter 40) and Rav
Goren zt"l in one of his earliest psakim, said that it was forbidden for
a dati soldier to ask a non-dati soldier to violate the Shabbos for him.
Thus what is forbidden to one should be forbidden to all.  But in fact 
this is not how (I understand) the army runs.  While dati soldiers are
asked to make patrols in areas of hostility on Shabbos, they are not asked
to do maintenance to their equipment which may be deferred to Sunday 
without placing anybody in danger.  They are asked to do guard duty
around their bases.  They are generally not asked to protect activities 
which involve chillul Shabbos for non-emergency purposes, particularly 
where there is no immediate danger to the person who is violating Shabbos.
Thus dati soldiers are not supposed to be asked to do things like go into
town and check handbags in a movie theater which operates on Shabbos.
And in the case that I cited in the post that started all this, dati
soldiers are not supposed to be asked to go guard Shimon Peres' helicopter
landing in Ashkelon on Shabbos afternoon on the way to a meeting with
Arafat (I'm sorry someone considered that "political tendentiousness" on
my part but in point of fact that *is* what happened), especially where 
they were essentially serving as an honor guard for Peres and where there
was no immediate danger to his life because that is not a situation of 
pikuach nefesh which justifies violating Shabbos.  And in fact, the army
*did* apologize for the incident - I just wonder what would have happened
had one of the soldiers refused to obey.

Rabbi Broyde:
Let me try to summarize again, because I think I now understand.
 Your position is that when a person sets out to do something in 
clear violation of shabbat that might lead to a danger to life, but that 
person is not now in danger, we cannot NOW violate shabbat either to stop 
the danger or to insure that we be there when the danger strikes.

Carl Sherer:
Yes, that is a fair summary of my position.

Rabbi Broyde:
 If that is your  assertion, I now understand it and can refer you 
to the literature on it which is fully summarized in hatzavah Kehalacha
on pages 201-203, with different positions given.
	I wrote to a friend of mine in Israel who tells me electronically 
that Rav Elyashiv's posture on the tinok shenishba issue is that the 
matter is a safek badin in his opinion and one should be machmir for all 
the sefakot.  (How exactly this plays out is most fascinating.  For 
example, hatzvah kehalacha cites Rav Elyashiv as allowing chillul shabbat 
to save anyone; I assume safek pekuach nephesh lekula), but does not 
allow advance pikuach nephesh to save these people, (as my guess is that 
it is a balance between a vaday issur and a safek mitzvah.)

-- Carl Sherer
	Adina and Carl Sherer
		You can reach us both at:


From: Micah Gersten <gersten@...>
Date: Tue, 8 Aug 1995 21:35:13 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Saving a Mechalel Shabbos

> 1. There is a general question about being Mechalel Shabbat for someone
> who is mechalel Shabbat and thus "gets him/her self into trouble".  This
> is a rather interesting halachic question (that I believe Rabbi Broyde
> has commented upon in the past) and should not be raised as such an
> obvious "given" -- although it may very well be that there is an
> obligation for us to be mechalel Shabbat even when people deliberately
> put themselves into Sfek Pikuach Nefesh situations by gratutitous
> Chillul Shabbat.

I was attending shul one morning and the question was brought up that 
should you break shabbos to extend to life of someone that will die very 
soon even if you extend it just a few minutes?  The answer given by the 
Rabbi, Rabbi Wyne, was that even for a few minutes you still break 
shabbos to extend that person's life.  So, it would make sense that you 
would save somebody in the above situation as well.
Also, another reason is that most of the time, the reason you break 
shabbos to save someone is so that they can they can keep another 
shabbos.  So, you hope that the Mechallel Shabbos will do T'shuvah and 
keep another shabbos.
Micah Gersten


End of Volume 20 Issue 94