Monday, March 18, 2013

Israeli rabbis allow religious Jews to invite secular Jews into their homes on the Sabbath

Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: Isaiah 29:13

Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?
He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.
Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
Mark 7:5-7

Another episode in rabbinic Judaism, as reported by Akiva Novick of Ynet News, February 27, 2013:

If you're a secular Jew and have religious friends, you've probably been invited by them occasionally to "do Shabbat in our house."

Up until now, if you accepted the invitation, you would have had to arrive at their home before the start of Shabbat, but a new halachic ruling aims to change that.

The ruling, obtained by Yedioth Ahronoth, was not written by Conservative or Reform rabbis but rather by 170 Orthodox rabbis from the Beit Hillel organization, which fights radicalization among the religious public.

Today, if you're an observant Jew and you invite a secular person to spend Shabbat with you, you must make sure that he arrives before it begins so as not to desecrate the holy day of rest.

Beit Hillel rabbis decided to change this situation in order to allow religious parents whose children have become secular to invite them over on Shabbat, even if they arrive by car.

The organization's director, Rabbi Ronen Neuwirth, explains the logic behind the halachic ruling: "When your intention is for the sake of a mitzvah, for example to introduce your guest to a proper Shabbat, it changes the picture."

According to Beit Hillel Chairman Rabbi Meir Nehorai, "We feel responsible also for torn families which have children who have left religion, or seculars seeking to get closer. We're not looking to violate halachic tools, but to stretch the band as far as the Halacha lets us.

"A Shabbat meal, with the surrounding atmosphere, has great value. I recently heard about a former religious man who would return to his parents' home on weekends, and the kindergarten teacher at the kibbutz said to him, 'Be careful, your child is about to become religious.'"

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