Oct 25, 2009

Interesting Psak: Depositing checks on Thursday

Rav Avraham Yosef, the son fo Rav Ovadya Yosef, the Chief Rabbi of Holon and the host of a very interesting halacha program on Radio Kol Chai, said a psak on his program on Friday.

Rav Yosf said that one should avoid depositing checks into the bank (in Israel where the banks are owned and employed by Jews) on Thursday afternoon and Friday.

The problem with this is that, Rav Yosef says, the banks process these checks, and balances the data, on shabbos itself (Friday night specifically) with Jewish employees.

Rav Yosef adds that one could derive benefit from money deposited in this time-frame on Sunday morning, as the bank does these activities on shabbos for its own benefit, but one should refrain from it so as to prevent causing others to sin. i.e. if you can avoid on Sunday using money that was deposited on Thursday afternoon-Friday you should try to, but it is allowed.

Personally I am surprised to hear that the banks work on Shabbos and have employees processing transactions into Friday night. if it is true, why have the haredi askanim not yet prohibited us from using banks (whichever specific bank does this), or fought the banks to stop them from doing so. Instead of working Friday night, they could work Saturday night (if it has to be absolutely done at night between Friday day and Sunday morning and cannot wait until Sunday).

Are the banks fined for transgressing the shabbos laws of Israel?

Was it well known (to everyone except me) that banks work on shabbos? This is the first time I have heard such a thing.


  1. When I was learning for Rabbinut Semicha, this was a fairly well known fact. Just as that one should not take the first bus Motzei Shabbat, nor should one take a flight within a certain time frame motzei Shabbat...

    Don't try to find logic in what the Askanim will or won't attack. Its like trying to figure out why my 2yr old suddenly doesn't like Coca Cola or Chocolate... there is not logic to it.

    I can answer you why the more moderates amongst the Orthodox and Chareidim have said nothing. It simply is not a public desecration.

    Oh and the issue with banks is that for whatever reason they refuse to computerize and automate, so therefore a lot of this still has to be done by hand.

  2. Beit Shammai vs. Beit Hillel? I know the banks are doing IT back processing runs starting Friday night through Shabbos day - but these are automated IT processes. If the process were to fail it would send out an alert to an IT support team, but they normally work fine.

    So if these are automated processes, there is no issue of mechalal Shabbos except according to Beit Shammai (not resting our tools on Shabbat)?

  3. Akiva - I don't know the accuracy of the statement, but Rav Yosef said some of the processes are done manually by Jewish people

  4. And every techie knows the likelihood that those automated processes "normally work fine."

  5. Just to complete the story...i was also listening to him say that on Friday and then towards the end of the show he got a fax from Bank Hapoalim stating specifically that the work done for the checks deposited on Thursday afternoon/ Friday morning is on Motzei Shabbat and they are not mechalel shabbat...


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