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Dec 17, 2012

Judging Shabbos Observance

MK Carmel Shama-HaKohen (Likud) has come under fire for his approach to Shabbos.

Shama-HaKohen was in Budapest this past weekend. On Friday he was invited to a ceremony in which he was to be the guest of honor of the Jewish community, and they asked him to light the Hannukah candles. unfortunately, the lighting was to take place after Shabbos would have already begun. MK Shama-HaKohen turned down the invitation.

MK Carmel Shama-HaKohen then posted to his Facebook account saying that he had turned down the invitation despite not keeping all the mitzvos because he has red lines that include lighting fires on Shabbos and eating pork.

That itself is a tremendous kiddush Hashem, especially when coming from a Jew who is self-declared as not religious. Ashrecha, fortunate for you, Carmel Shama-HaKohen.

The ruckus started when he then posted about this, while it was Shabbos, on his Facebook page. One aspect of the ruckus was whether he made the right decision or not to refuse the invitation. When called out on that, he explained that so he was raised, and then explained further that it is important to have respect for one's parents and for the family traditions.

The second aspect of the ruckus was his posting on Facebook on Shabbos while talking about how he refused the invitation because he would have had to perform the lighting on Shabbos. When he was called out on that, he responded that he said straight out that he does not keep the mitzvot, but he "tries".

People and life are not black and white. People do contradictory things all the time. Sometimes one thing is important while the other is perceived as less so, even if the two contradict each other. Sometimes people are strong in one situation and fail, or are weak, in another. Perhaps the two decisions, to not light but to post, were contradictory, but does that mean he should not get credit for his good decision?

It is not for us to judge any specific person in what he does - that is between him (or her) and God. Does it matter to anyone if I accuse him of not keeping Shabbos, or if I praise him for keeping Shabbos? What about if I call anyone else out on their actions, or if someone calls me out on mine. A person only has to answer to God, not to anyone else. On this world each person must do what he perceives as right and good to the best of his ability, and the rest of us should not be judging. As long as the person is not harming others, as long as he is not demanding of others what he himself does not demand of himself, it is not for me to judge if he is shomer shabbos or not or partially.

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  1. On a purely halachik level, lighting a fire is D'Oraisa, while posting to Facebook is quite possibly a D'Rabanan.

  2. It may not even be a D'Rabanan! It might just be a very strong minhag.

  3. it would take a lot of effort to make sur eit stays only a drabanan or less. your usage of the computer causes lights to flash which would likely be the biggest problem. it might sometimes be a grama, but other lights affected might not be. the rest of the computer activity is probably a drabanan at worst, as long as one leaves the computer on in advance, doesnt turn on/off caps and num lock...

  4. Only incandescent lights are clearly d'oraysa - most if not all lights on a computer are LEDs.

  5. I would say that "contradiction" in too strong a term. People aren't perfect. I know very few people who keep shabbos 100%.

    It was a bit foolish on his part, though, to do something widely viewed as against shabbos to defend his keeping it. I don't think it would have taken very much trying on his part to wait until after shabbos to do it.


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