Israel Police Chief Rabbi Permits Chilul Shabbos For Cops And EMS Personnel Heading To Meron


Israel Police Chief Rabbi Rami Barchiyahu released a “psak halacha” before assuming his current post in which he states that police personnel heading to Meron for Lag B’Omer may travel on Shabbos if the events begin on Motzei Shabbos since they have no other alternative.

The psak was written while he served as head of the Believing in the Police (‘מאמינים במשטרה’) program, stating that since many police personnel must report to Meron on motzei Shabbos, they have no other alternative and therefore, he permits travel on Shabbos, citing this is a matter of pikuach nefesh and while it only begins on motzei Shabbos, they must prepare.

“אין לי ברירה אלא להגיד לשוטרים שלי שמותר להם לנסוע בשבת ב-2 בצהריים כדי להגיע לקבר הרשב”י ולפקח שם. זה כרוך בפיקוח נפש, אמנם במוצאי שבת אבל צריך להיערך לכך”.

He adds it would be preferable to delay the event, which begins shortly after Shabbos, a major event that demands security and much preparation. If there is a need or mitzvah to hold it on motzei Shabbos he feels it would be fitting to delay it. However, since this is not the case security and EMS personnel must arrive in a timely fashion and travel on Shabbos for if they spent Shabbos, it would compromise the Shabbos for him and family and result in significant difficulty. He cites his ruling is based on piskei halacha from a number of “talmidei chachamim”.

“ככלל, ראוי לדחות אירוע המוני, שחל סמוך לאחר מוצאי השבת ואשר דורש לשם אבטחתו היערכות מוקדמת של כוחות הביטחון, הכרוכה בחילול שבת. אם יש הכרח או מצווה לקיימו במוצאי שבת דווקא, או שהמארגנים לא דחו אותו אף שכך היה ראוי, מותר לאנשי כוחות הביטחון וההצלה לנסוע בשבת כדי להיערך לאבטחת האירוע מחשש סכנה ופיקוח נפש של הרבים”. לדבריו, “אין איש כוחות הביטחון וההצלה חייב להגיע למקום האירוע מערב שבת כאשר הדבר פוגע בסעודות השבת שלו עם בני משפחתו וגורם לטרחה מרובה”.

It is added the Boyaner Rebbe Shlita has already announced he is delaying the lighting of the main bonfire until close to midnight, calling on all involved to avoid any and all chilul Shabbos.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)


  1. The problem isn’t the psak – its the need for thousands of people to converge in Meron all leaving as soon as Havdala is made that creates a very dangerous situation where a large number of police and EMT crews become necessary. Why can’t all travel to Meron be delayed by 2 to 3 hours after Shabbos in order to give the police and emergency personnel time to prepare after Shabbos?

  2. Can someone explain why the Rabanoim can’t give out a psak that no one should be in Miron until 2 am motz”sh or so, if someone cares about the store open in Tel Aviv why shouldn’t they care about the police bus drives etc. that need to prepare.

  3. NO NEED FOR POLICE TO BE MECHALLEL SHABBOS! All they have to do is close all roads and announce that all roads are closed and will only be opened about an hour after Shabbos.

  4. Some might deem it ironic that as the haredi parties denounce the gov’t for allowing Chillul Shabbos in Tel Aviv, haredi Jews are forcing other Jews to mechalelil Shabbos rather than postpone their Lag b”Omer festivities by 6 hr. (Yes, I know: The bon fires won’t look as bright.)

  5. Did anyone see the actual psak? Is this much different than Hatzolah carrying their radios all day on Shabbos and YK, “Just in case”?

    If there is a legitimate risk to human life, AND preparation cannot take place in advance (this is the main point), they might need to do this.

    While I was tempted to say that many will be arriving ON Shabbos and therefore ‘Hal’ite’hu La’Rasha Ve’Yamus’, there may be people who live nearby and will totally be keeping Shabbos properly, yet will arrive much earlier than police and/or others who are traveling. Therefore, there may be risk to the life of non-sinners.

    After initially raising my eyebrows at this psak, I believe it needs to be analyzed inside with the facts. It may not be so wild after all.

  6. Hundreds of thousands of people go to Meiron on Lag b”Omer. The security and emergency services have to be there. Imagine the outcry there would be if there was serious security incident with chas veshalon many injuries or fatalities if they were not there. Lets be realistic here. If the community wants to celebrate Lag b’Omer in Meiron when it is a Motzei Shabbos, there is going to be chillul Shabbos on a massive scale. Even if the roads are all closed off during and after Shabbos until 5-6 hours after Motzei Shabbos, there will be chillul Shabbos as who is going to man the roadblocks during Shabbos?

  7. Those who would travel on Shabbos are most likely not shomer Shabbos anyway. Where is this Rabbi coming from with a psak like that? There are other viable options if one wants to observe Shabbos. This is not like a medical person running to an emergency. Shame!!!

  8. Everyone has been predicting this for weeks…still no one has offered a rational explanation as to why not defer the bonfires until Sunday…is it worth incurring chilul Shabbos and/or massive crowds rushing to arrive motzi Shabbos just for keep a minhag that is not m’darisah??