MAILBAG: Shomer Shabbos Monsey Firefighters Should Be Apologized To



Please be aware that the Monsey Fire Department is there to help you. The members are all volunteers who donate a great deal of their time to train and practice to be able to respond to all sorts of emergencies. In addition, they rush to calls at all times of day and night, responding to you and others like you. What you may not know, is that the vast majority of its members are Yidden, and a significant number of those Yidden are Frum – some Yiddish speaking.

On Monday evening, the fire department responded to a call on Joshua Court – the usual Chanuka story…. Unfortunately- a Menorah fire. One Frum firefighter, just as unfortunately, overheard an onlooker refer to them as “Chayos Ra’os”. Imagine how he felt – a fellow Yid being denigrated by an ignorant and ungrateful person in such a hurtful manner. And even had the firefighter been a non-Jew – is that how you react to someone who goes out of his way to help a fellow human being?

I have no idea who this person is, but I can only suggest that he really owes a sincere apology to all members of the fire department. My suggestion- find out when their next meeting is and go down there with a huge tray of snacks, apologize, and thank them for all the good they do in the community.

Incidentally, when it is Shabbos for you, it is Shabbos for most of the fire department, too. Too often people call on Shabbos for frivolous reasons. If you have a small fire- e.g, you knocked over a candle and could easily pour water over it yourself, spare them the Chillul Shabbos.

I am not a member of the fire department. I am just relaying what was told to me by a hurt member.

Looking to Avoid Chillul Hashem – Name withheld upon request.


  1. “Too often people call on Shabbos for frivolous reasons. If you have a small fire”- –
    What I think this person means is that people don’t realize that when they ask a goy to call because they think they smell smoke is that when the fire department gets that call 10 yidden jump into the car and drive to the fire station, take out the fire trucks and drive to where they think there could be a fire.If you think it doesn’t warrant your chillul shabbos why does it warrant their chillul shabbos? Also “a small fire”. If it can become a large fire and become a matter of pikuach nefesh so you need to call the yiddisher fire department then why can’t you put it out yourself?

  2. Is it even permitted for a Jew to join the fire department? A lot of what goes on on shabbos is completely halachacly unacceptable. A few weeks ago, an alarm went off at a shul on shabbos and the fire department showed up immediately. B”H, it there wasn’t a fire but the Jewish fireman was radioing back and forth concerning the code to shut the alarm! He then proceeded to write a report!
    I don’t believe there is even one Rov who permits Yidden to join the department.

  3. If you’re really looking to avoid a חילול השם why are you publicizing this disgraceful story?! No, that fool isn’t going to show up at the fire department’s next meeting with a tray of Jelly Doughnuts!

  4. What a disgusting & ignorant comment. That’s the kind of thing I expect in RBS Bet or Meah Shearim, not in a “civilized” place like Monsey. For shame.

  5. We need a renaissance of perfecting Middos, with Torah learning – not looking to find the newest frumkeit fad. Halacha is Halacha, but there are vast differing opinions.

    I recently heard a Rav say ‘Torah, that’s the easy part; doing so with Kedusha, that’s not easy to find.’

  6. Circle: and in Eretz Yisroel? Do you think that all the Fire Departments are non-jews?

    You wrote: “I don’t believe there is even one Rov who permits Yidden to join the department.”

    Did you ask anyone in the Monsey FD before making this comment?

  7. Volunteer members of the fire department have no legal or other responsibility to respond if they do not wish to. As such frum yiden can definitely join the fire department. The question though is, as members of the fire department may they respond to calls on shabbos and yom tov. There are rabbonim that pasken that if the call sounds like it might be a case of pikuach nefesh that they may and possibly should respond. For instance if the call is for a structure fire in a multi-family dwelling then being that there is a likelihood of pikuach nefesh they could or even maybe should respond. With regard to publicizing the story, which, incidentally, is not an isolated incident, i wholeheartedly agree that it should not be plastered across the ny times, which is only too happy to verbally assault frum yidden, nor should it appear on public radio. but if we are serious baalei mussar looking for self improvement, a little gentle mussar among ourselves should not be a bad thing. i dont feel it was appropriate to mention other places where the writer feels this might have happened. i feel that was totally uncalled for.

  8. ” if you knock down a candle you can easily put it out yourself(on shabbos).

    Well, Please check your halochos. Ohr chaim simen 334 (?) Dont just pasken from boich svaros

  9. To Shimen:

    Are you suggesting that if you knock over a candle on Shabbos, you should defer putting out the fire (on Shabbos or even Yom Kippur) until you have the opportunity to consult the Ohr Chaim or other meforshim or speak with your rav or posek on what halacha allows??? A “small” fire can easily and quickly morph into a major fire with major consequences in terms of burn victims and property loss. Put out the fire wihout delay and if you are feeling guilty, give some additional tzadakah, do some chesed, or daven with additional kavanah.

  10. Shimen
    If you are correct that you may not extinguish the candle then you may not call the yiddisher fire department to come and put it out even if you are calling them via a non jew. However if the the fire has the potential to develop into a fire that will have pikuach nefesh implications and you will have to call the yiddisher fire department I can’t imagine any rov would pasken that you have to wait till the fire has gotten out of control and is actively pikuach nefesh before you can put it out

  11. The outrage here should be that someone takes it upon himself to decide what the halcha is.
    You can’t just extinguish a fire on Shabbos. There are ways to do it. But pouring water on it isn’t one of them.

    Gadolhadorah is just a troll.
    His hatred toward Orthodox Judaism is self evident. I don’t know why YWN allows him to comment.

  12. #12 well said, Goldalhadorah is a neighbor of mine she nebach went through alot in her life and is very bitter at the world……please dont judge her

  13. Years ago the need for Jewish fire fighters were important but now that monsey is 90% Jewish there is no reason why the rabbunim don’t push the fire dept / monsey board to have non Jews on rotation. At this point the gain of the Jewish fire fighters is probably saving you about $100 a year in taxes. The rabbis that allowed them to go fight fires on shabbos should be revaluating their psak. I did confirm this with 2 frum volunteers. But they do say until that’s done there’s no choice. RABBIS WAKE UP!!!!