Rav Lau: Tel Aviv is Annulling Shabbos


rav-lauTel Aviv’s Chief Rabbi, Rav Yisroel Meir Lau, slammed City Mayor Ron Huldai for his bid to allow businesses to operate within the city on Shabbos.

Out of respect of observant Jews and in accordance with the Jewish character of the State, Tel Aviv, like many other cities in Israel, respects the Shabbos and does not allow businesses or public transportation to operate in the city.

The city’s chief rabbi sent a letter to the mayor on Monday, nothing that “this is the breaking of the pattern of the city’s life since its establishment 105 years ago. Let us consider what is at stake in the decision that stands before you.”

Rav Lau added that he had never before turned to the mayor. “I am going out of my way because the cry of Shabbat breaks through the walls of my heart and I cannot remain silent.”

Huldai replied to the letter on Tuesday and stressed that only one percent of service-providing businesses could operate, and only in places and areas where their operation does not cause disturbance.

Last month Tel Aviv’s city council authorized a new proposal which paves the way for regulating business operation on Saturday. The municipality has defined several stores that would remain open in every central street, in accordance with the number of grocery stores currently running on Shabbos. The bill is expected to pass within the city council in the future, and only afterwards – if it gets approval by the Interior Ministry – it will take effect.

Rav Lau, who served as Israel’s chief rabbi in the past, further wrote in his letter to Huldai that “many are desecrating Shabbat in the city today, but the proposal will not only cause the desecration of Shabbat, but its elimination altogether. Please consider the owners of smaller grocery stores whose income is entirely deprived when Shabbat violators provide food on Saturdays and holidays.”

Deputy Mayor Asaf Zamir said in response: “The Tel Aviv Municipality did not choose to have this discussion; it was forced to do so by the High Court of Justice. For years, the city has managed to create a reality that generally pleases all parties involved. We did not use the High Court of Justice decision to do anything dramatic. But such a debate in Israel is dramatic and I understand the issue’s sensitivity, as well as Rabbi Lau’s sensitivity. The city has a pluralist-secular majority. No one is complaining about cafes that are open on Saturday. What we’re doing is expanding the services given in the city by grocery stores to the weekends as well.”

Yedito Achronot

{Matzav.com Israel}


  1. Easy. Boycott businesses and their affiliates throughout E”I that attack Shabboss,yomtov, Kashrus and middos. And Kashrus. Embarrass owners, employees and patrons in every manner legally possible lfy Halachah and basic middos. If done maturely and intelligently, it will gain the support of many baynonim, even in Tel Aviv.

  2. Torah is always the foremost of Torah concerns for All Jews. But in the case of the Shabbas restrictions by the state, there is the issue that Hashem does not tolerate bad form of lost liberty. There is the risk that our communities will be corrupted by poor Shabbas violations and that is a very scary prospect. But to actually legislate that there is no option for a limited excuse to open your business on Shabbas is always a condition of external liability for Shabbas protection. Ultimately, we can aim for better societies, but to actually demand that there be no tolerance for a practice with freedoms that are not Torah Blessings goes against Torah itself because Torah does not fix the hate of a mind of lost value. It fixes the problems of lost discussion. And thus we can move to the future as trust visits Torah and not the Hand of Allotted Indiscretion. Untimely laws and legislation against practices that many might not be so careful to observe ultimately risk the rankling of the human spirit and that is the essence that dooms Israel to more violent approaches to Jewish Life and lost liberty. You can take a key away from a party of lost liberty but you can not take away the lock of the safe from the Jewish Intellectual development. And when you lose your freedom to lost visions of true need in a true Torah society, you lose your platform for better considerations of real Torah Value. And that is the risk we have for putting Legislated laws on the table to make sure that Shuckey is not going to go to his bagelry and open it for the non-observant jew. It is a carefree expression that they want from us, but we can only bring Trust to Hashem by limiting our involvement in the day to day Discipline of the Hand of True Freedom against the rebellion of lost individuality.
    Trust in Better Fidelity.