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Mar 15, 2008

Local RBS Tzedaka: cherem on Shefa Shuk: Kupa shel Tzedaka gets the short end

3 weeks ago I wrote about a new Haredi consumer cherem on Shefa Shuk. The reason for it was the parent company also owns other chains of stores that are open on Shabbos. technically, by shopping in Shefa, one is doing business with someone who is mechalel shabbos, even though the Shefa chain is not.

The cherem was published this week in the Haredi press (in the Yated and Hamodia). If I understood correctly, they were working on an arrangement, which might be why it took so long to publicize. It must not have worked out, so they have now publicized it.

There is an interesting twist in the cherem that Ynet is reporting on today. Surprisngly, this national Haredi cherem directly affects Ramat Bet Shemesh and the Kupa shel Tzedaka in a way other than whether you can shop in Shefa or not.

The local RBS Kupa has an arrangement with the local branch of Shefa. They issued a membership card for shoppers. Any shopper who uses the membership card when shopping in Shefa, 3% of the purchase (maybe 3% of the profits?) will be donated by Shefa to the Kupa Shel Tzedaka.

Rabbi Perlstein and the gabbai tzedaka of the Kupa went to Bnei Brak to meet with Rav Chaim Kanievsky. Rav Chaim Kanievsky told them that the owners/managers of Shefa support chilul shabbos and they have the status of non-Jews from which one cannot accept Tzedaka. Rav Kanievsky stressed that the arrangement between the Kupa and Shefa must be cancelled right away.

(I thought one cannot take money from a non-Jew to build a shul. I was not aware one cannot take such money to support the poor).

As a side note, I was in Shefa today to pick up a few things, and I saw no indication that anybody was paying attention to this cherem. Where the tznius signs are flying high from the walls outside Shefa, I am expecting, for consistency's sake, to soon see signs announcing the cherem and that it is assur to walk inside the store.


  1. As a consumer of theirs and a supporter of Shefa Shuk I approached Shefa Shuk last year about including Lema'an Achai in their Tzedaka program.
    Their answer was that we are a Charedi store and therefore are connected to Kupa. I didn't understand this as Lema'an Achai assists many, many Charedi families. It also bothered me as I would like to give tzedaka as I wish not as the store in which I shop dictates.

    In any case I see that it has "come to roost" for Shefa Shuk. The very community which they claim to be loyal to has turned around and put them in Cherem.

    Perhaps they and other businesses will use more discretion in the future when "banning" worthy organizations from receiving their support.

    Bottom line: Cherems and bans are wrong. Period.

  2. tHE NEXT QUESTION IS: WHO SAYS THAT'S REALLY WHAT r' cHAIM PASKENED? WHO SAYS OR knows what the real question was or in what way it was presented. R' Cohen just had an incident where he went to R' Elyashiv and while RE was paskening Mutar, the shamash was arguing why it should be assur and told R' Cohen that "he really menas it to be assur". RC was floored he said.

  3. If this isn't a case of biting the hand that feeds you..what is?

    I do have one BIG question however:

    Many people on this blog vehemently denied that Rav Perlstein has major involvement with the Kupa. From this story it seems that he is indeed their main Posek and hence went with them to Rav Chaim.

  4. how do people in israel keep track of who/what is in herem? it is so confusing to this outsier.

    shavuah tov

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. This post is bull, Rafi.
    Never have any of the gedolim declared that we should not accept tzedaka from a michalel shabbes. If so, most yeshivas would not exist.

  7. I am not sure what part of it is bull. Rav Chaim said what he said, as reported in the Yated, ynet and all over the news the past 2 days (maybe there are some inaccuracies, as always in the news, but the general point he must have said).

    If you mean specifically to what he said that it is assur to take tzedaka from non-Jews, I also do not know what he means, as I wrote I thought you are allowed to for the poor, and the only issue is for building a shul/yeshiva/beis hamikdash.

    And even for that, which I did not write, there are many ways around it. An anecdote - When I was in yeshiva, there were guys learning there who came from manchester. I remember one of them told me a story that the yeshiva there had been rebuilding and apastor/priest from a parish nearby gave a donation of a nice sum of money to the yeshiva. The Rosh Yeshiva did not want to use it for the building, but could not reject it. In the end he made the decision to use that money for the building of the bathrooms.

    Of course this would mean you hold "yesh breira".

    That is just an anecdote, but there are ways around it, so you are right, without non-jewish or mechalel shabbos money, there would not be many of the shuls and yeshivas we have. Also, many poskim have allowed to accept such donations.

  8. He may have said what he said...but there is no halachic source in which an equation is made comparing a mechalel shabbes and goyim in the cotext of tzedaka. Just ask nefesh bnefesh. they got heat for taking money from goyim. But there is no halachic comparison of a mechalel shabbes to a goy in the context of tzedaka. That is what is bull.

  9. ironically, lev leviav is a major shareholder of the shefa shuk company. there not going to take his money either? with all do respect to the gedolei israel, the chareidim are a mafia / political entity that uses extortion to get what they want. And since they believe (and the majority of judaism also mistakenly believes) that chareidim monopolize torah - we dont question. But this is not only inaccurate halachikally, it is probably assur.

  10. My understanding is that there is a problem receiving tzedaka from ovdei kochavim/goyim. (Actually I believe a shul is less of a problem than tzedaka in this respect).
    However, I have never heard this principle applied to mechalalei shabbos. This would be a major chiddush, apparently requiring every tzedaka organizqation to do a shomer-shabbos test on each donor.
    With every respect to Rav Chaim, this sounds a most pecular psak in the context of Shefa Shuk siphoning off their customers payments to Kupas Tzedaka. The donors are actually the customers (who are almost 100% shomer shabbos); even if the donor is considered Shefa Shuk, to say they are like idol worshippers because other stores in the same group are breaking shabbos....
    Any halachik experts out there who can explain what's going on??

  11. Reliable sources have told me that the Kupa is still taking the money from Shefa Shuk, even though, they say they are not.



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