May 11, 2010

Supporting chilul shabbos l'mehadrin

I did not do my own investigation into this, nor confirmation, (am way too lazy for that right now) but am translating (mostly paraphrasing) something that was posted on the Hebrew Bet Shemesh board in the Bechadrei forums.

If you live in RBS/BS, you might have noticed the new brown buses driving around the city with the company name "Mehadrin B'Tnuah" across the side. Even if you are not from Bet Shemesh, the background of this might interest you.

So these new buses cater to the people who want mehadrin bus service - separate seating, no radio, payment is collected not by the driver but by someone else (thus getting around the problem of not being allowed to operate a bus service), etc.

The previous company employed by the kitzonim who have fought for mehadrin service and against Egged (even when they wanted to provide the mehadrin service) in the past was called "Movilei HaVradim" stopped working with this group after deciding it was no longer financially worthwhile, along with some other disputes. After a number of years they decided to call ti quits in this market and the kitzonim had to look for a new provider.

The only compnay that agreed to operate under the difficult conditions of the "mehadrinn" format was a company from Kiryat Gat called "Metailei Lachish", and they bought new buses for this project.

They agreed to change the name on their buses used for the "mehadrin" operation in Bet Shemesh to "Mehadrin L'Tnuah" because they are a company that does not keep Shabbos and the kitzonim operators could not allow the real name to be used and displayed publicly under their authority.

How does sitting separately yet at the same time supporting chillul shabbos make a bus "mehadrin"? Is it ok, according to them, to eat in a restaurant that is mechalel shabbos - can the restaurant still obtain a mehadrin hechsher? Is chillul shabbos not a problem when money is involved? Is the "ideal" of sitting separately so overwhelmingly important that it even trumps such basics as Shabbos?


  1. Even if they wanted to, it is impossible to boycott every company that is mechalel shabbos. And if they think they should, then how about every individual who is mechalel shabbos. And how about every company that hires someone who is mechalel shabbos, and every company who hires someone who is a customer of a company that hires mechalelai shabbos.

    I think the real claim is against the people who make a big deal out of boycotting stores that are mechalel shabbos. Ein ledavar sof. I don't think it makes more people shomer shabbos. Perhaps there is a scenario that it can be positive, but not in our society.

  2. What's the problem with the driver collecting the money?

  3. I don't know what your complaint really is.
    there are two separate issues. mehadein bus service and chillul shabbos.
    as far as running their own mehadrin bus service goes, they are entitled. they run it privately and they can do s they choose. egged wasn't a real option as they constantly are at odds with the way egged runs the mehadrin lines. Egged never really participates fully as far as enforcing the rules. therefore they go at it themselves.
    as far as chillul shabbos goes, perhaps for lack of any other option, it is either use this company or none.
    therefore the shikul becomes either compromise on the chillul shabbos issue or compromise on the tznius issues as they see it.
    they feel that it is better to compromise the former for the latter. perhaps for the reason you say - anyways they are mechallel shabbos and it is better at least to keep their community values strong internally.
    by having them change the name, they are not trying to trick anybody, they are simply trying to minimize the public support of mechalliley shabbos as much as they can.
    sounds pretty logical to me

  4. There's an old Israeli saying: zot hadat, avel zeh ha'esek

  5. wow, Anonymous, you need to get your head out of the mud and wake up and smell your yiddishkeit burning.

    Mehadrin buses is a chumrah. No one says it is a chiyuv.
    Supporting a business that is michalel shabbos is not recomended.

    Using a business that is michalel shabbos to accomplish a chumrah, sounds a lot like tovel bmikvah im sheretz byado.

  6. whatsinaname, I don't think seperate buses even qualifies as a 'humra'. Minhag, at best. Er, worst; actually.

  7. yoni - when the driver collects the bus fare, it is considered a bus and that causes legal problems with the fact that only one bus company is authorized to be operating (Superbus, Egged, etc).

    When someone else collects the fare, it is as if a private group of people rented a bus to take them on a personal trip. Like a tour bus.

  8. What's in a name:
    as far as i know egged is also mechallel shabbos. if that is true then there is no difference as far as the chillul shabbos issue goes. so even it is a chumra then there is no reason not to be makpid on the chumra because either way they are going to support a chillul shabbos company.

  9. why is it a chumra. perhaps travelling without mehadrin is a kula that everyone relies on. there is really no reason for someone travelling himself (without his wife and kids) not to travel mehadrin.
    i also would feel much more secure sending my young daughters on a mehadrin bus then sending them on a regular bus.

  10. It is chumra (and not even that) because there is no chiyuv what so ever to have seperate areas for men and women. that you feel more comfortable that way doens't make it a chumra, just your personal hangup.

  11. Rafi,

    The explanation for money collection would never hold up in Israeli court (if it comes to that).

    Israeli courts look at the מהותו של העסק rather than the technical definition of what's going on.

  12. Jenny - could be, but it has held up so far without going to court. Egged has taken them to court numerous times to stop their activities. They have solved a lot of their problems by implementing that method of payment.

  13. Dor Alon??? Woah that's bad. My husband had us drive waay out of our way to find a different gas station during our vacation last year. And he quotes Rav Aharon Lichtenstein about most of these boycotts - that you have to question whether they really achieve our purpose.

    I guess if you're going to compare the bus company to Shefa Shuk, and throw in Egged, it would be appropriate to explore whether the private bus company is operating within status quo, which was the actual issue for AM/PM

  14. Anon May 11, 2010 4:26 PM, why do you feel secure sending your daughter on a mehadrin bus than a regular one? Secure?

    This whole thing seems hypocritical to me. On Chol HaMoed they tell you not to go to museums or other attractions which are mechalel Shabbos. That's only a couple of times a year. But now they're willing to patronize a mechalel Shabbos bus company EVERYDAY.

    How many people even heard of Metailei Lachish, let alone know whether was a mechallel Shabbos company? And now that everyone knows that Mehadrin L'Tnuah is really them, the cat's out of the bag. So this whole name thing is just a big masquerade, as are most of their shenanigans.

  15. will the buses park in the karta parking lot on Shabbos.
    that will really be chilul shabbos l'mehadrin


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