driving to Shul on Shabbos?

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    I passed a Shul this Shabbos and noticed some cars in the parking lot. I saw quite a few people coming out of their cars or driving off.

    The Shul has a very modern crowd, but driving is totally Assur on Shabbos for everyone.

    I was wondering if anyone can explain what these people think or how to be them Dan L’Zchus.

    (Maybe some of them post here!)


    I thought you live in BP.


    Canine- I do. But BP is not my limit.

    ☕️coffee addict

    Do they work for hatzalah?


    I sometimes davened in a Shul, many years ago, where the police put signs reserving the spaces in front of the shul for the shul-goers. Of course, this was only on Shabbos.


    I don’t understand what you mean Dan L’Zchus. By definition Orthodox Jews, “very modern crowd” or not, don’t drive on Shabbos. The people who were driving on Shabbos weren’t Orthodox. Perhaps they’ve only recently started coming to shul; maybe they are non-frum friends or relatives there for a bar mitzvah.


    Maybe they work in the shul. Maybe they are conservative and want to see what orthodox davening feels like. Maybe they are non-observant and they have to say kadish for a parent. Maybe they want to become frum and want a taste of Shabbos. You can’t tell them not to come and you can’t invite them to come. What they do on their own is out of your control.


    “I was wondering if anyone can explain what these people think or how to be them Dan L’Zchus.”

    How about the standard tinok sh’nishba?


    Maybe there was a simcha and there were non frum relatives coming.

    Maybe there was a fire and there were non frum firemen coming.

    Maybe there was a good kiddush and I was coming. (doesn’t explain the cars.)


    Ok I’ll accept that these people are new to our community, and they’re learning about Yiddishkeit, and aren’t up to giving up their car for a day. That would make sense. Thanks to whoever suggested that. I HOPE that is the truth.

    One of the chevra

    aries2756 wrote: “You can’t tell them not to come…”

    According to the halacha one must rebuke someone for doing something wrong if what they are doing is an issur d’oraisa, (a prohibition by the torah) even if they know that the person may not listen to the rebuke. The fact that the transgressor may be trying to get a taste of shul or Judaism or beginning the tushuvah process is not a justifiable reason to ignore public chilul shabbos.

    Of course one should carefully plan the method and wording of this rebuke so as to accomplish the most possible effect. If done correctly, with the correct amount of sensitivity and expression of love to all Jews, it will not only not “distance” the offender from Yidishkiet but may, if not immediately, maybe later on, actually have a positive effect.

    May we be zoche to see all of our lost brethren returning to the ways of Hashem with shmiras Shabbos and keeping all the Mitzvos properly.


    whatever it is they obviously arent frum. Its extremely plausible that there was a simcha(imo moreso than new to the community)


    I remember when I was becoming dati at a Chabad house outside Boston the Rabbi said that it was a fairly common thing for families as they move to greater observance that driving to shul would be the last non shabbos thing that they would give up.

    It kind of makes sense if you think about it, if you are a family out in the suburbs somewhere with nothing in walking distance and you decide to become religious you will need to move to be in walking distance of a shul, but of course moving house can not in most cases be done overnight, it takes time.

    And just to be very clear the rabbi was talking about the case of a family transitioning from secular to shomer shabbos and being somewhere in the middle for a time, nothing else.

    Shticky Guy

    You ask for an explanation of ‘what these people think’.

    You have obviously never asked any of ‘them’. Try it. Too many of ‘us’ ignore ‘them’ and dont talk to them at all. In fact many of ‘us’ walk past ‘them’ without acknowledging them at all. They dont bite, and you dont know what a difference a nice hello can make!

    The answer really is tinok shenishba. They have been brought up that its not a big deal to drive on shabbos r”l and are just going to shul in the same way that they usually move around on shabbos to go shopping or to a football game etc. They dont understand why they cant do melochos because their parents, friends and community have been brought up that its ok and only old fashioned frummers dont do it. One guy said “but I have yartzeit on shabbos so if I cant drive to shul I wouldnt be able to get there at all, so which is better, not to go or to drive?” When I tried to explain why its not only better but imperative to stay at home rather than drive, he could not accept it. I just couldnt get him to see where I was coming from. Nebach!

    But dont ignore them. You never know how your smile and acknowledgement can change their opinion of frummers.


    My parents belong to an orthodox shul, the Rabbi is a Chabbad guy and he wants the people to come to shul, does not want to turn them away if they are coming by car and gradually he mekarvs people so they don’t drive to shul anymore.


    I used to go to a shul with a parking lot. Everyone there was shomer Shabat, but there were an unusual number of doctors and hatzalah volunteers so it was not uncommon to see the driving in and out on Shabat.

    Feif Un

    Maybe they are Hatzalah members and were coming back from calls?



    It’s not at all that simple. Speak to anyone in Kiruv. Different Rabbanim have different approaches, but there is the general idea of Mutav Sheyechalel Shabbos Echad Ve’al Yechalel Shabbossos Harbei. One thing we do know: someone that is not religious will not stop driving because of a religious person telling him what religion mandates.



    They have a designated shul for all biology people?


    For my oldest son’s Bar Mitzvah, my father (who is not frum) drove in on Yom Tov.

    We invited him and his wife to spend Yom Tov with us, but they did not want to spend the entire three-day Yom Tov with us. I asked my rav what to do about him (and other relatives) who would drive in on Yom Tov. He told us that as long as we made the offer to make arrangements, then we did all we could. And so, we put on the invitation an offer to make arrangements for anyone who wanted to stay in Brooklyn for Yom Tov.

    The Wolf


    Look, for certain people, driving to shule is a step forward. We had friends who lived far from the community, and they gradually became more interested in Shabbat and frumkeit. In the beginning, they drove in on Shabbat and left before Shabbat was over. With encouragement from us and others in the community, they eventually started coming for all of Shabbat. Eventually, they sold their house and moved into the community. They have continued their growth over the years; they themselves are now encouraging others to take the same steps themselves. So, perhaps those you see driving on Shabbat are making their way forward as well!


    Being Mechallel Shabbos (to ostensibly keep Shabbos) is never a step forward. Chillul Shabbos is NEVER justified (other than things like pekuach nefesh et al).


    It is a beautiful thing to see someone move forward and take the necessary steps to become frum. It must be an amazing feeling to have someone sit next to you in shul and watch them grow from driving to shul on Shabbos to become a total Shomer Shabbos.


    You are not stating the time that this occurred. Perhaps it was within 18 minutes of candle lighting. We live in Boro Park and in specific have a neighbor who davens far away, so if i look out the window after i light candles, i can see him drive off. He returns with the car on Motzei Shabbos. Maybe these people do the same! Don’t judge by the cover!


    Chabad is virtually alone in that shitah…in fact they invite peopel over for shabbos knowing full well that they will drive on shabbos. most others think thats wrong. then again…thats not all chabad is wrong about.


    It is not unusual in some communities out of New York for people who, for whatever reason, drive to an Orthodox shul on Shabbos. These are neither doctors nor Hatzala people. It is not for us to judge; it’s between them and Hashem.

    But the bigger chutzpa is for an Orthodox shul to keep their parking lot open and available on Shabbos to accommodate the chillul Shabbos.


    “they invite peopel over for shabbos knowing full well that they will drive on shabbos. most others think thats wrong.”

    My rav tells me that it is RIGHT. Our only obligation is to OFFER the chance to stay over. He is not Chabad and recently confirmed this with a well known posek.


    “According to the halacha one must rebuke someone for doing something wrong “

    According to the halachah you are FORBIDDEN to rebuke someone if it will drive them away from yiddishkeit. Very few of us have the sensitivity to give a proper rebuke to a non-observant Jew.


    I know many doctors who drive to shul on Shabbos.


    From what I understand, OP is asking about cars at an Orthodox shul on Shabbos (presumably it would not be such a surprise to see cars at a Conservative shul…) Some Orthodox shuls have a congregants who are not Orthodox but for whatever reason prefer attending that shul; it’s been known to happen.

    One of the chevra

    “CharlieHall” commented on the comment of “One of the Chevra” by saying:

    (one of the chevra said) According to the halacha one must rebuke someone for doing something wrong… “

    (CharlieHall said) According to the halachah you are FORBIDDEN to rebuke someone if it will drive them away from yiddishkeit. Very few of us have the sensitivity to give a proper rebuke to a non-observant Jew.


    It’s obvious that you did not read my comment carefully.

    I was originally referring to rebuking someone whom you know will not listen, not to someone who will be turned away from Yidishkeit.I AGREED with you that it must be done in a correct manner, and Later on I very clearly also referred to your issue when I wrote: “If done correctly, with the correct amount of sensitivity and expression of love to all Jews, it will not only not “distance” the offender from Yidishkiet but may, if not immediately, maybe later on, actually have a positive effect”.

    Concerning the other comments about coming to shul with a car being a “step forward”: that can be compared to a person who was invited to attend a royal banquet in honor of the king and he comes driving right into the center of the ballroom and rams the head table with his car. “Well at least I came to the banquet this time, that’s a step forward” he says.

    Sorry people!! Ramming the shabbos with your car especially when coming to the palace of the king (the shul) is NOT a step forward!

    We do not do Hashem any favor by keeping His mitvos through transgressing chilul shabbos. Any and EVERY competent rov would surely say: If you live to far from the shul to walk STAY HOME!! and guess what you will be rewarded greatly from Hashem for staying home
    May we all be zoche to be mekarev as many yidden back to Hashem as possible with love and sensitivity, but most important of all, in the way which Hashem and the Torah guide us to, and not by the guidelines of our own “feelings”.


    One of the Chevra:

    Your metaphor falls apart because those who drive to shul are driving to shul instead of driving to the golf course, not instead of staying home. Yes, of course they shouldn’t be driving on Shabbos, but the step forward here is that they are going to shul.


    What possible heter could a doctor have for driving to shul on Shabbos? Was there an urgent medical situation taking place in the social hall?



    Many of the doctors I know got heterim way back when (so older doctors). I don’t know the details – I know they drive to and from the hospital to shul to daven and then go back if they can.

    I am not a posek. I don’t know if there is a reason for the change nowadays (it seems like younger doctors don’t do this). I am just saying that don’t judge someone as being mechalel shabbos because you see them driving.


    To all you folks who think that a parked car on Shabbos in a shul parking lot means someone drove on Shabbos: your ability to jump to unwarranted – and wrong – conclusions is astounding. At my shul, the rabbi’s car is always there on Shabbos – he drives there before Shabbos, davens Mincah, Maariv and Kabbalos Shabbos, walks home, walks back on Saturday morning for Sharchris, stays all day, and after Havdalah, drives home.

    And, of course, for some of you purists who shows a lack of Ahavos Yisrael, someone who would otherwise not daven on Shabbos who drives to shul is, possibly, a future Shabbos observer. If you turn up your noses as such people, you are not helping the Jewish people.


    I belong to an MO shul, while there are some that drive. They are not MO, they simply belong to an MO shul. The parking lot is also closed on shabbos, so if you driver and park their on Friday you are stuck till after shabbos. The question is why do non-orthodox people decided to go to an Ortho shul and should they be welcomed?

    not I

    Funny story..

    One Shabbos morning my uncle responded to a Hatzala call in a shul like the one explained. They had a kiddush and one of the congregants offered my uncle a drink. My uncle responded “I’ve got to drive back, i wont take one thanks..”

    The congregant respnded “That’s OK I am driving back too!”

    BTW in their community there is not always a Shabbos goy to drive the car back..


    they should be told not to come to shul, rather than not saying anything and them being mechallel shabbos to come to shul on shabbos.


    Keen – If it will delay them from responding to an emregency, might be a reason they have a heter to drive to shul.


    shlishi…you want to be the one to tell someone who’s parents survived the horrors of the holocaust and raised their children in a secular matter that they are not welcomed in a Jewish Institution like a shul, when they have no understanding of halacha?


    <b>they should be told not to come to shul, rather than not saying anything and them being mechallel shabbos to come to shul on shabbos.</b>

    Of course they were already being mechallel shabbos. And if you say that to them they will probably continue to be. Nothing kills Kiruv faster then saying ‘Hey you are not welcome here’ which is exactly how that comes across.


    Back when I was younger, many people from my parent’s generation (those who grew up in the 1930s & 40s) drove to our shule on Shabbat. They were not orthodox, but grew up in orthodox neighborhoods and would not think of ever going into a conservative or reform synagogue. It’s just the way they were.


    A lot of people drive to my orthodox shul. Many of these people come to shul every week, and with the exception of a family shabbos meal friday night, this is the only shabbos-related thing they do. They go home and watch a football game on TV, or sometimes even go to a Jewish-owned treif deli.

    While not frum, these are kind decent people with deep loyalty to the shul and klal yisrael. Many send their kids to Jewish schools, and a number of their kids grow up to be fully shomer shabbos. The rabbi obviously isn’t happy they drive on shabbos, but knows that if he discouraged it, they would break shabbos even more at home, and would become further distanced from yiddishkeit. This is a complex situation, and I encourage anyone making snarky comments about these Jews to actually make some effort to get to know them.


    shlishi, the ONLY one with the obligation to tell such a Jew NOT to come to shul would be the RAV and if the RAV does not take upon himself to deliver such a message who are YOU to make such a comment?????????

    Obviously it is NOT appropriate to do so!!!!! So maybe the RAV knows better than YOU.


    AriInMD…well said I agree 100%…these people are laying the foundation for their children to return…everyone has to start somewhere…the last thing anyone should do is tell them are wrong and not welcomed…that will just push them further away


    While a posek should be consulted on this matter, my personal understanding and thoughts, based on what I have heard from prominent reliable people is that a shul and even a yachid cannot put someone in a situation where the person will either likely or definitely, (I cannot recall which, now) drive on Shabbos. More precisely, when dealing with someone who you know would drive on Shabbos, there has to be a practical and plausible alternative before you can invite him to your shul/home etc. on Shabbos.

    Furthermore, to keep a shul parking lot open past the start of Shabbos, in a case where people will likely use it, seems irresponsible and a chilul Hashem. If they want to drive, they’ll find a way without you opening a parking lot for them as long as you do so with love and sincerity, not holier-than-thou nonsense.

    A conservative Jew once mentioned to me in conversation that he lives too far from shul so he drives because how could he not pray to G-d on Shabbos just because he lives too far away? I was so thrown by this line of thinking that I regret I didn’t have an answer for him at the time that would not be CH”V embarrassing or offensive but still convey the fallacy of this argument.

    The obvious flaw in that argument is that it is forbidden to drive on Shabbos. Prayer, however, can be done at home, too, even if this is not as preferable as praying in the synagogue. But, again, driving is absolutely forbidden barring pikuach nefesh et al reasons, so there is no justification for ASSISTING someone in doing so, CH”V. If someone parks around the corner then that’s his business, so to speak, but that doesn’t mean you leave the parking lot open to welcome the behavior, CH”V.

    As with any mitzvah, the ends do NOT justify the means, and the future potential shemiras mitzvos is wonderful, but you can’t help him be mechalel shabbos to attain that wonderful goal. Let Hashem take care of His children while you work with them only within the framework of His Torah. Hashem is looking out for all His children and obviously does not want nor need you to assist in Chilul Shabbos.


    Hakatan- I had the same thoughts about the parking lot.

    Why doesn’t the Shul close off the parking lot for Shabbos? It will make people think twice before driving there.


    Opening up a parking lot for Shabbos is clearly a problem, but its not clear to me that failing to block the entrance to a parking lot Friday afternoon is encouraging chilul Shabbos. Obviously a rav should (and probably has, in the case of this shul) be consulted.


    From my experience, the vast majority of Ortho shuls block the driveway, so there is no coming or going during shabbos…

    Despite this, some shul goers drive and park around the corner…

    Like I said before, everyone is on different levels, people don’t realize how lucky they are to be born in a frum environment. For those who aren’t, we should no judge them. Going to an Ortho shul is a huge step for many. Hopefully a non judgemental approach by the Rabbi will help foster a closer bond with Yidishkyte and bring these people closer to Hashem and Halacha…

    It’s is better to look at the positives and then focus on the negatives.

    Avram in MD

    As a BT, I have personal experience with the issues discussed in this thread.

    I grew up as an “active” Conservative, meaning we went to synagogue on a fairly regular basis. After I got married, we began to explore Judaism more and became more religious. At first, our growth was largely within the Conservative framework, as that is what I was raised with. I always had an attraction to Orthodox Judaism, but felt intimidated by it. In the town that we lived in at the time, there was a Conservative synagogue and a Chabad shul. Both were a considerable distance from where we lived (like 10-15 miles). We visited both, but started going more regularly to the Conservative one. Then I started wearing a yarmulke full time. Once, when driving home from the Conservative synagogue, I started to squirm in my seat. My wife asked me what was the matter. I said, “I feel like I need to take off my yarmulke.” She asked, “because we’re driving?” I said yes. We discussed the feelings, and decided that if we felt uncomfortable doing something while “looking Jewish”, then we must be doing something wrong. Starting the next Shabbos, we no longer drove.

    I learned how to daven with an Orthodox siddur, and davened at home by myself on Shabbos. We lived like that for three years before B”H we were able to move into a frum community. Being able to go to shul is definitely better than davening alone, but once we began to understand what Shabbos was, to violate it by driving was not an option. I feel like I have a deep appreciation for shul now after those three years at home. I have no temptation whatsoever to talk during davening, and I tremble if given an aliyah.

    Looking back, if I were directly rebuked for driving in an Orthodox setting when I still did so, it might have increased my fear of Orthodoxy and delayed our introduction into it. At the same time, someone who drives on Shabbos does not truly understand Shabbos. So instead of a direct rebuke, perhaps something more subtle would work better. Be very friendly. Be welcoming. And have an option ready for the person driving to be able to stay Shabbos in the community. And push it (cheerfully). Push how meaningful it would be, how honored you would be to have the person as a guest, etc. And act disappointed if turned down. I think that method would get the importance across without an unwelcoming stiff-arm.


    Years ago my rav had someone drive to his shul. He lived four miles away. He never told him it was ok, but he didn’t rebuke him or throw him out. Instead he welcomed him and concentrated on sharing the joy of Shabat.

    After some time, the man stopped driving to shul and started riding a bicycle. This might actually have been mutar except that he lived outside the eruv. Again, my rav never told him it was ok, but he didn’t rebuke him or throw him out.

    After some more time, the man stopped riding the bicycle to shul and started rollerblading. That might technically be mutar except that it isn’t exactly a Shabat-like activity. Again, my rav never told him it was ok, but he didn’t rebuke him or throw him out.

    After some more time, the man stopped rollerblading and started waking the four miles. He didn’t do that for very long, though, as he sold his business and moved to Eretz Yisrael to learn in yeshiva full time. He still learns full time, years later.

    I think my rav’s strategy may have been somewhat successful here.

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