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Shabbat Parashat Emor 5782

Parashat Hashavua: Shabbat and Holidays in a Jewish State

Harav Yosef Carmel

Is it permitted to violate the laws of Shabbat in the process of sanctifying the new month? In the beginning of the section of our parasha that deals with the holidays (see Vayikra 23:2-4), the Torah announces: “These are the mo’adim (special days at special times) of Hashem … these are My mo’adim.” The next pasuk commands to celebrate Shabbat by refraining from work on it. The Torah then reverts to discussing the special times in the Jewish calendar. Why does the Torah repeat the introductory terms about the mo’adim and mention Shabbat in the middle?

Rashi answered that the first mention of setting the times of the year refers to the setting of the beginning of the new month (kiddush hachodesh), whereas the second one refers to the setting of the leap month on certain years (ibbur hashana). We need to make leap years to adjust our lunar calendar for two purposes. One is so that Pesach will always fall in the spring, as the Torah requires. The other is so that when Bnei Yisrael make the sojourn to Yerushalayim for the three major “pilgrimage holidays,” this will be not during the rainy season. The former need we can categorize as one to honor Hashem, and the second one is out of concern for national needs. In other words, one is for the Father and one is for His nation.

In order to have a proper mo’ed, both the date of the month and the decision of when to add a month are critical. But there is a halachic difference between the two. In the process of kiddush hachodesh, those who are involved may violate Shabbat if necessary, for example by traveling on Shabbat upon seeing the new moon. Ibbur hashana does not allow the violation of Shabbat. According to Rashi’s reading of the pasuk, we understand the layout of the p’sukim. The mitzva of setting the month is written before Shabbat, because the former takes precedence over the latter. The mention of the leap year comes after mention of Shabbat because Shabbat takes precedence over it.

We learn from the precedence of kiddush hachodesh to Shabbat that the basic needs of the nation as a nation-state are supreme. There are far reaching rules, to which we cannot do justice in this forum. We will mention, though, that our teacher and mentor, Rav Shaul Yisraeli zt”l taught us an important lesson in his sefer Amud Hayemini (siman 17). When an individual has a critical need for something to be done on Shabbat, we have for centuries looked for a “Shabbos goy” to do certain things. However, when it comes to operating a police force or army on Shabbat, it is implausible that we should give over our security to someone else. Rav Yisraeli was in the forefront of setting the halachic rules whereby Shabbat-observant Jews would be able to serve as policemen on Shabbat in the halachically mandated manner. In such a setting, there are times when even in order to keep the peace in regard to personal property and not only direct danger to life, a policeman can at times do what would otherwise be a violation of Shabbat.    

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Nir Rephael ben Rachel Bracha
Yisrael ben Rivka

Arye Yitzchak ben Geula Miriam

Neta bat Malka

Meira bat Esther

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Hemdat Yamim is dedicated

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Those who fell in wars

for our homeland


Rav Shlomo Merzel z”l
Iyar 10, 5771

Reuven & Chaya Leah Aberman z"l
Tishrei 9
,5776 / Tishrei 20, 5782


Mr. Shmuel & Esther Shemesh z"l

Sivan 17 / Av 20


Mr. Moshe Wasserzug z"l

Tishrei 20 ,5781


R' Eliyahu Carmel z"l

Rav Carmel's father

Iyar 8 ,5776


Mrs. Sara Wengrowsky

bat RMoshe Zev a”h.

Tamuz 10 ,5774


Rav Asher & Susan Wasserteil z"l
Kislev 9 / Elul 5780

' Meir ben

Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld z"l


Mrs. Sara Brachfeld z"l

Tevet 16 ,5780


R 'Yaakov ben Abraham & Aisha


Chana bat Yaish & Simcha

Sebbag, z"l


Rav Yisrael Rozen z"l
Cheshvan 13, 5778


Rav Benzion Grossman z"l
Tamuz 23, 5777


R' Abraham Klein z"l

Iyar 18 ,5779


Mrs. Gita Klein z"l

Av 4


Rav Moshe Zvi (Milton) Polin z"l
Tammuz 19, 5778


R' Yitzchak Zev Tarshansky z"l

Adar 28, 5781


Nina Moinester z"l

Nechama Osna bat Yitzhak Aharon & Doba

Av 30, 5781


Rabbi Dr. Jerry Hochbaum z"l

Adar II 17, 5782


Mrs. Julia Koschitzky z"l

Adar II 18, 5782


Mrs. Leah Meyer z"l

Nisan 27, 5782


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