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Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Shabbos Goy

Last Shabbos I needed a Shabbos Goy.

Standing on NY streets on New Year's Eve with a shtreimel trying to persuade New Years revelers to come inside and close the refrigerator may be a great backdrop for a comedy routine. Too bad there wasn’t a surveillance video. It probably would be a scream.

But being cast unwillingly as a shabbos goy is not as funny.

The halachic differences between Yid and goy are well established. Every gentile politician who once lived in an Orthodox neighborhood is quick to claim credentials as a 'Shabbos goy'.But can a yid be a shabbos goy?
Who? You and I.
When a friend needs medical advice, news articles, airline tickets, who do they turn to? You and I, the internet 'Shabbos goyim'?
Is the internet 'treyf vie chazer'? According to many, yes. Is a Jew allowed to benefit from the action of a fellow Jew eating chazer? Does it parallel the halacha regarding benefiting from a fellow Jew’s chilul Shabbos?
Does it make a difference if the benefit is directly from the physical act or financial? Is one allowed to use even a non-religious Jew as a shabbos goy? While no authority, I believe Halachic authorities say no. And our readership here is definitely not irreligious.
Frequently, speakers will make the 'electronic media' (one haimishe newspaper's euphemism) sound even more trayf than chazer.
‘Ahh, you say, but the baalei darshan don't really mean that. That don't really mean pikuach nefesh, sakonos nefeshos, a flam brent tzvishen uns, and all the other phrases they use.’
They don't mean what they say? Then what do they mean? Do they mean to be taken seriously? I, for one, take words seriously. Otherwise I wouldn't be writing.
The town where I spent a chunk of my youth had a very wealthy European Jew who owned a large pork packing house. Many haimishe mosdos refused his tzedaka. These mosdos were struggling, and their leadership deserved respect for their financial sacrifice.

Leaders and friends, I respectfully suggest that you please say precisely what you mean on this subject, without the harmful hyperbole. And if you truly feel that there is no exaggerating the extent of the problem, by all means be our guests to make the sacrifices required. The baba and zaida lived without internet, radio, newspapers, weather reports, telephones, etc. But please don’t make us shabbos goyim when it suits your needs. I’m not sure the halachic categories you compare us to can tolerate using Jews (or their money) to be shabbos goyim.
Better still, show us how to live in this world Hashem gave us and remain erliche yiden. Show us an example of how to live our lives and withstand our nisyonos.
Help to earn honest parnosos with our own sweat and no handouts or programs. With no contradictions.
And guide us in benefiting from technology's ability to help yiddishkeit just as we benefit from the telephone, from central heat and air conditioning, high tech cars and high tech airplanes. (Not from high tech food stamp and welfare cards. Those are high tech nisoyonos we don’t need more of.)
All of our chareidi newspapers are getting their news from the internet. Are their writers and editors and those who sacrifice to produce them shabbos goyim too? (Not to mention our communal organizations and yeshivos almost all of whom, are somehow elctronically 'connected')
And maybe this newfangled internet can help us get to the Bais Medrash. In fact, it is already doing that.
I'm going there now to learn.
You see, for this writer it's no contradiction. It’s an aid.
When I say, ' . . . Excuse me sir, uh, Happy New Year, can you spare me a minute or two?’ it should only be to a real goy.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Standing on NY streets on New Year's Eve with a shtreimel trying to persuade New Years revelers to come inside and close the refrigerator may be a great backdrop for a comedy routine. Too bad there wasn’t a surveillance video. It probably would be a scream."

As I'm sure you know, this is very iffy l'halacha (you left out details, so I don't mean to cast aspersions on you personally). Before people make use of a shabbos goy they should ask a sha'ala if they are not up on the halachos.
Shabbos goyim (and children used to do melocha) are commonly used in ways that are not mutar.
Many people did such even in Europe out of ignorance.
Most Americans who talk about being a "shabbos goy" for a neighborhood Jews in their youth are describing being asked to do things in ways that are not mutar.

4:46 PM  
Blogger Leapa said...

Thank you for your concern.
This is a sheila I've asked many times, not only what to do but how to phrase it. While the Halacha is not the thrust of the post, I appreciate your concern that others not be 'nichshol'.
Good Shabbos

5:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here in Israel life will grind to a halt unless Jews work regularly on Shabat, doing not only tasks which are pikuach nefesh but lots of other things.

5:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Israel there are many non-Jewish (Korean, other Asian, Hungarian, etc.) immigrants who can and do work on Shabbos.

if there is a will, there is a way.

2:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is the problem al pi halocho with taking donations from someone in the pork business ?

7:02 AM  

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orthodox jews and the internet.