In light of growing Chilul Shabbos R”L and the activation of Shabbos bus service in some cities in Gush Dan and Jerusalem, the question was asked why it is preferable not to protest on Shabbos because such protests cause Chilul Shabbos by police, photographers, members of the media and others.
HaGaon HaRav Yitzchak Zilberstein Shlita, a member of the Degel Hatorah Moetzas Gedolei Torah, announced that one should protest on Shabbos.
HaGaon Rav Zilberstein rejects those who opine that protests to decry Chilul Shabbos cause Chilul Shabbos, announcing one may protest on Shabbos.
“We are in a difficult situation. Many of our brothers who err, wish to uproot Shabbos and to operate buses like is the case during the week, and the grief is very great. We are in a serious situation that has not been seen since the establishment of the state, such a difficult situation with so much public Chilul Shabbos. There was never public bus service by the government on Shabbos, and now, Lavan wants to uproot everything.”
Regarding a protest on Shabbos, HaGaon HaRav Zilberstein said, “True, there are many who are strengthened in all kinds of reinforcements on Shabbos, but my teacher and father-in-law, Maran HaGaon HaRav Yosef Sholom Elyashiv ZT”L, would say that there must be a large demonstration and protest, and the chizuk [asifos] is insufficient, despite being good and beautiful things, but does not fulfil one’s obligation to protest.”
The rav feels everyone who holds Shabbos dear must protest, as was the position of Rav Elyashiv.
The rav was asked a second time, if protests will lead to other Chilul Shabbos as mentioned above, citing the Gemara asks just how far must one go to rebuke those who are not keeping Shabbos. Rav Zilberstein quotes Rav and the Rambam.
וכך גם פסק ברמב”ם וכן תמיד חייב אדם להוכיחו עד שיכהו החוטה ויאמר לו איני שומע, וכל שאפשר בידו למחות ואינו מוחה הוא נתפש בעוון אלו כיון שאפשר לו למחות בהם. ולכן אם ברור לנו שהשוטרים או מחללי השבת יכו את המוחים, אולי אין צריך משום כך להפגין
The rav explains that if police are going to strike the protestors, then persons one does not have to protest.
After probing the mater, Rav Zilberstein decided in the name of Rav Elyashiv, that one must protest with determination. “If each person would exonerate himself from performing a mitzvah of ‘tochachah’, then the stores, transportation and all businesses in Israel would operate in Shabbos as they do on weekdays, and there would not be any trace remaining of Shabbos Chalila.”
The rav explains the goal of the protests are to stop the spread of Chilul Shabbos, and therefore, one should not be fearful of others being Mechalel Shabbos because of the protests and one should protest the desecration of the holy day.
Rav Zilberstein concluded by saying, “We are responsible for Shmiras Shabbos throughout our nation, and therefore we are commanded, and we are not responsible for the [police] officer who calls his superiors.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)