Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

4 Nissan 5765 - April 13, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Thousands at Shabbos Rally in Ashdod

by Yated Ne'eman Staff

Following a growing number of acts of chilul Shabbos in Ashdod where stores and shopping malls have begun to trample over the sanctity of Shabbos, a moving public prayer rally led by gedolei Torah, admorim and rabbonim was held on leil Shabbos Parshas Tazria in the city streets.

A proclamation signed by all of the city's rabbonim and admorim read, "Following the increase in the incidence of opening the large retail chains on Shabbos in our city while nobody objects, there is a danger of more stores opening on Shabbos. In light of the call by gedolei hador shlita to buy only from places that do not desecrate Shabbos and not to lend a hand to stores and sites that desecrate Shabbos and in order to strengthen this and to voice our objection over public Shabbos desecration we hereby call on the residents of the neighborhoods to participate in a mass prayer rally in the city streets."

The notices posted at all of the botei knesses and botei medrash in the city's chareidi neighborhoods called on the public to gather along Rechov R' Yochonon Ben Zakai in the heart of Rova Zayin.

As Kabolas Shabbos ended an enormous stream of people from every congregation and background gathered silently in the heart of city. HaRav Ben Tzion Zeida of Vishnitz led the main minyan of tefillas Arvis and when they recited, "Veshomru Bnei Yisroel es haShabbos," the words echoed far and wide.

The first business to breach the sanctity of Shabbos in Ashdod was the Ace Knei Uvnei do-it-yourself store, which also owns Auto Depot which is open on Shabbos. Recently a major breach was made in the walls of Shabbos when a city councilman opened a commercial center that is drawing the major outlet stores, most of which have begun to open their stores on Shabbos. The list of stores includes Machsanei Te'ora, Big Sansur, Harmonia, Hapirat Haadom and Wertheimer. Apparently the municipal board is not enforcing the law.

These breaches led the H&O clothing store, which has dozens of chareidi club members, to open its doors on Shabbos along with Home Center, which once signed a pledge before Chief Rabbi Yosef Sheinin to keep the Ashdod branch closed on Shabbos.

After the tefilloh, several rabbonim stepped forward to address the crowd briefly. HaRav Sheinin began with the gemora in Shabbos that reveals that calamity and destruction are caused by the sin of chilul Shabbos. "Who knows if we are not accountable, chas vesholom, for the acts of Shabbos desecration in our city?" he said. "It could be that we desecrate Shabbos, chas vesholom, during the week! According to a psak halochoh of the gedolei Yisroel shlita, purchases should not be made even during the week from a business that desecrates Shabbos. This must be made known to the public using every available means, and all of those who gathered here for this event which sanctifies Sheim Shomayim must enlist for this holy battle." He called on the public to join the efforts of Mishmeres HaShabbos to encourage stores to close on Shabbos.

HaRav Shlomo Peretz, rosh kollel of Kollel Hadaras Yosef at Port Ashdod, said Shabbos Kodesh is the source of all blessing. "All of our sustenance is in the merit of the blessing of Shabbos. If not for keeping Shabbos how could all of the business owners merit their livelihood?" he called out.

HaRav Yosef Direnfeld, a dayan and moreh tzedek from Belz, called on those present to take advantage of the unity forged by the event—"Vayakheil Moshe es kol addas Bnei Yisroel"—which has the power to bring more bounty to the klal and he called on all of the city's residents to join together to accept the yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven by keeping Shabbos.

Speaking for the city's rabbonim the emcee announced that on Shabbos Metzoro avreichim would address all of the botei knesses to remind people to refrain from supporting stores and sites open on Shabbos.

When the addresses ended hearts open wide and circles formed to dance and sing in honor of Shabbos Kodesh.


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