“The terrible breach effected by opening stores on Shabbos Kodesh, thereby desecrating and trampling over Shabbos, cannot and should not be overlooked. We have decided to wage a determined battle using all the means at our disposal,” declared Vaadas HaRabbonim Lemaan Kedushas HaShabbos this week.
The notice was a pointed reference to the AM/PM chain of convenience stores owned by businessman Dudi Weissman, who has already opened a number of stores on Shabbos and has plans to reach a total of 50 stores in the Gush Dan area. His declarations — and even worse, his actions — cause a horrendous breach in the walls of Shabbos that cannot be ignored, said the rabbonim.
“An even greater peril is that this could drag other competitors into the circle of those who desecrate Shabbos against their wishes, and this is a great sin that cannot in any way be tolerated,” said Vaadas HaRabbonim. Recently a group of grocery story owners filed a petition demanding that the City of Tel Aviv and the Ministry of Industry and Trade enforce the Work and Rest Hours Law, instead of allowing chains to operate seven days a week.
The storeowners claimed that their livelihood is being destroyed due to a lack of equal opportunity. “We don’t want them to allow us to open on Shabbat, too, because we don’t want to work on Shabbat,” note the storeowners. Even the owner of City Market, which operates two large stores one of which is open on Shabbos Rachmono litzlan, says he decided to open on Shabbos only because of the competition with the large supermarkets nearby.
This breach is exceedingly grave, says Vaadas HaRabbonim, which hopes someone capable of appealing to Mr. Weissman’s better sensibilities and changing his ways will step forward and succeed in putting a stop to the damage. If he persists his plan will not be met with silence. Shabbos-observant Jews, Jews who throughout the generations made great sacrifices for the sake of kedushas Shabbos, will not remain indifferent and complacent in the face of such a blow to the sanctity of Shabbos.
(Yated Ne’eman Staff for Dei’ah veDibur)