Shabbos Kodesh: The glittering diamonds and gems in Gold's
Jewelry prove too tempting for the two young drug addicts.
One throws a brick into the window while the other brandishes
his pistol. Not to worry: Mr. Gold has full "insurance
coverage" as well as a burglar alarm. Sirens wail and
headquarters sends officers Meir and Rahamim, who apprehend
the young hooligans and take them to Police Headquarters.
Another scenario: Shabbos Kodesh. One o'clock in the
afternoon. Everyone is enjoying his Shabbos nap until the
deafening wail of a siren is heard. Red lights go off and on
at the security company headquarters. Security people locate
the position of the tripped burglar alarm, jump into their
cars and rush to the scene. The culprit? A sonic boom. The
loser? Shabbos Kodesh!
The fact that Jews are involved with chillul Shabbos
for every business in Israel that takes out property
insurance was raised by the musaf kodesh Shabbos
supplement of the Hebrew edition of Yated Ne'eman
several months ago.
The problem: No insurance company will issue policies to
businesses lacking a proper alarm system. These systems are
connected to a security company's central headquarters, which
receive electronic signals at the time of a break-in and then
send out the necessary manpower to deal with the
The solution: The Ararat Security Company has agreed to
comply with requests from the Torah-observant community and,
in cooperation with the Amishav Company, will be using Druse
personnel to implement Shabbos alarm system security instead
of Jews. The Ararat Security Company offers round the clock
protection with monitoring of client locations from a central
Until now, there was no insurance company sympathetic to the
need of Shabbos observers. Even chareidi insurance agents
were at a loss how to solve this problem, since they are
merely agents of giant insurance companies.
One Bnei Brak agent said several months ago, "They could not
care less if you observe Shabbos or not. If you want
insurance coverage, these are the conditions. You are
bringing up a difficult problem. I have checked many
different insurance companies and they all unconditionally
require this protection. Including on Shabbos. They will make
no exception for Shabbos. You must realize that the subject
of protection is a relative one: a business located in a
populated area is considered low risk, especially in Bnei
Brak, where there is no traffic on Shabbos. In industrial
areas situated far from residential areas, no one would cover
them on Shabbos. Nothing can be done about this."
The insurance agent, who insisted on anonymity for him as
well as the company he represents, said that only the
establishment of a chareidi security company that would
employ Druse on Shabbos would solve the problem. "There is no
other solution," he stated.
When approached, various insurance companies said that they
were sympathetic to the problem, but, nonetheless, could not
offer a solution.
Yated Ne'eman went to where we always go to solve
unsolvable problems; to gedolei haposkim. We turned to
the rav of Ramat Elchonon, HaRav Yitzchok Zilberstein.
"The problem is as follows," he said. "Each question must be
judged on its own. I only wish to bring up the problem. In my
humble opinion, there are cases involving armed, experienced
robbers, and they are considered bo bamachteres. They
are dangerous. They are liable to kill anyone in their way.
One must weigh that in cases like these, it would be all
right if the security people came, for it is a mitzvah to
apprehend such snakes or even to kill them. You don't have to
ask if there are Arabs there: even in a Jewish place one can
come to a life-threatening situation. When taking into
account even the basics of the law, security people would be
permitted to come. One who succeeds in apprehending someone
like that catches a true rodef. I am only saying that
it is impossible to publicize such a halacha; everyone
must turn to his own rav with his particular
As for the problem of monetary loss, the rav replied, "Money
has no value when compared to the value of Shabbos. . .
Shabbos is the source of all blessing. If it is a situation
where Jews would come to save someone only from monetary
loss, it would be forbidden to insure in this way. This is
psak halacha. It would be permitted to come under
certain conditions, like when one is near a border. And there
are circumstances when catching a thief is clearly a matter
of saving lives, since today many of them are armed. But one
must weigh every situation. There are places where it is
known that they would be approached by armed thieves for they
have valuable merchandise, and to catch such thieves is a big
mitzvah. In my opinion, on Shabbos also."
The rav stated his psak, "Not to operate [alarm
devices on Shabbos]." When asked about employing Druse
personnel on Shabbos, the rav stated that this was a very
This psak also, of course, has implications for alarm
systems in homes as well as in cars. The problem there,
however, is less serious, since homes are usually occupied
and cars usually parked on Shabbos and holidays.
The question reached the deputy chairman of the Ararat
Insurance Company, Assaf Mendelson, himself a Shabbos
observer who wanted to find a solution to the problem. He
contacted Amishav Security Services with the goal of forming
a type of cooperative that would allow Shabbos-observant
customers to employ alarms in their businesses on Shabbos
with desecrating it. He viewed it as a "business matter . . .
to do something for the extra soul with which we are imbued
on Shabbos." Since his goal was spiritual, his request was
A meeting was held in the Ararat offices. The director of
Amishav, Gideon Epstein, came accompanied by a retinue of
advisers. The Yated reporter came equipped with the
psak of HaRav Zilberstein. The meeting took place in
an atmosphere of good will. Epstein made it clear that
everything depended on the profitability of the deal. Would
it be worth his while to operate a Shabbos-observant
headquarters on Shabbos? It was agreed that his chareidi
agents would make an initial survey of the matter. It was
also agreed that Amishav would not raise its fees as a result
of this special service to the shomer-Shabbos public.
The company worked with Rav Tzvi Glasner of the Committee for
Shabbos. Rav Glasner, who has done so much to strengthen the
wall of Shabbos observance, immediately took up the task.
In a revolutionary, unprecedented step, after long, weary
deliberations, Ararat and Amishav finally decided to sign a
contract. Amishav would use Druse personnel (all IDF
veterans) on Shabbos. The dream of many: "Shomer Shabbos
Headquarters," went into high gear. The two companies asked
Yated Ne'eman to wait four months before publishing
anything, until the logistics were set up. Policies had to be
written and non-Jewish workers hired.
Yated Ne'eman is the one who brought about this
revolutionary change, from the initial posing of the problem
to following up all the steps along the way and then
publicizing the decision.
Rav Zvi Glasner began a round of visits to gedolei
haposkim to gain their support for the plan. The chairman
of Ararat as well as the Yated Ne'eman reporter
accompanied him on his appointed tasks. Here is an abridged
report of what transpired:
On Sunday, the 28th of Tishrei they came to the home of HaRav
Zilberstein. Rav Glasner explained the sequence of events and
asked HaRav Zilberstein for his approval and blessing for the
new project. HaRav Zilberstein was in complete support of the
idea and stressed over and over that this was a great step in
the strengthening of Shabbos.
Rav Glasner also raised a particular problem with the Rav,
which had been previously forgotten. In case of a robbery,
the headquarters is required to report the event to the
police, even on Shabbos. Assaf Mendelson, director of Ararat,
suggested a solution. Perhaps the police department could be
notified about the break-in on motzei Shabbos! This
proposal was acceptable to HaRav Zilberstein, who added that
Ben Gurion said once, "No Shabbos goy will work here,"
and now, in front of our very eyes, a security system run by
Shabbos goyim is being set up. He added that this is a
vision of the End of Days, when, "Your work will be performed
HaRav Zilberstein concluded his remarks by promising to visit
the home of HaRav Nissim Karelitz, and to his illustrious
father-in-law, HaRav Eliashiv, to ask him to add his
haskomo to the plan.
On Wednesday, the first of Marcheshvan, Rav Glasner and Mr.
Mendelson visited the office of the Chief Rabbi of Rechovot,
Rav Simcha Kook. Again, the problems and proposed solutions
were presented. Mr. Mendelson added that if the solution
turned out to be profitable in Bnei Brak he would offer it in
Jerusalem and in other areas where there are a lot of
chareidim. Rav Kook said, "As soon as we see that the plan is
successful, similar plans should be formulated to solve the
problems of insuring homes and cars on Shabbos."
With the blessing of HaRav Wosner and HaRav Nissim Karelitz,
followed by the approval of HaRav Eliashiv, the plan was put
into action. All that remains is for the shomer
Shabbos businessmen to vote with their checkbooks and
make sure that their insurance policy is as kosher as the
rest their Shabbos.