“Shabbos opponents have declared war against the Shabbos, and during a time of war it is imperative to raise the banner of Shabbos in every possible manner. As such, instructions should be issued to everyone to use only goods produced in shomer Shabbos factories. Even a company that keeps Shabbos, if it owns another company or store open on Shabbos then the Shabbos-observant [company] should not be patronized until it closes all of its associated businesses on Shabbos,” Maran HaRav Eliashiv shlita told the members of Vaad HaRabbonim Lemaan Kedushas HaShabbos during a recent visit to Maran’s home to seek halachic guidelines and directives regarding various factories that do not close on Shabbos.
At a recent Vaad HaRabbonim meeting in Ofakim attended by local councilmen and leading askonim, information was presented showing that all of the paper companies that claim to be shomer Shabbos in fact operate seven days a week. A call by gedolei Yisroel was conveyed, urging the public to use only paper products not produced through chilul Shabbos, from the production stage through the packaging stage.
The participants were told that Shaniv, located in Ofakim and owned by R’ Avrohom Brandt, is the world’s only factory that shuts down completely on Shabbos. The factory produces toilet paper, paper towels, tissue paper and napkins.
Vaad HaRabbonim members revealed all other factories, even those which print the words “Mifal Shomer Shabbos” on the packaging, operate 364 days a year.
HaRav Menachem Mendel Mendelson, the rov of Komemiyus, addressed the meeting, speaking at length about the importance of crying out in defense of Shabbos. He recalled that when the Chazon Ish visited HaRav Amram Blau in jail after his arrest for protesting Shabbos desecration he called his visit “a Shabbos visit.” He went on to say that it is a big mitzvah to encourage and remind people to keep Shabbos, noting that in only one place throughout the Mishnoh Berurah did the Chofetz Chaim write, ” . . . all who take part would merit sons who are gedolei Yisroel”: Chaburas Mazhirei Shabbos, a group which would make the rounds of the town, sounding the cry that Shabbos was coming. Today the rabbonim and their shlichim and all those in a position to protest are the ones sounding the cry, he said.
HaRav Hillel Weinberg also spoke, saying that the bigger the factory, the bigger the yetzer hora and the more attempts on its part to explain why the factory can or should operate on Shabbos. “It is terrible for us to see how so many of the factories look for ploys, such as selling to a goy, etc., to pose as shomer Shabbos. Here we see an enormous factory like Shaniv, which is run by a Jew who keeps Torah and mitzvos. It openly proclaims to other factories that they should learn from its example that even a large factory can shut down all its machines and totally halt on Shabbos.
“Today there are many religious or traditional Jews who do not want to desecrate the Shabbos but are forced to do so by their place of work. We have the ability to prevent this by not lending a hand to Shabbos desecraters.” He also shared the message he heard during the visit to Maran HaRav Eliashiv’s home the previous week.