Friday, May 20, 2022

Chagigah 15: A Pre-emptive Call

On this daf, we find a case of chillul Shabbos.

There was a young man who was obviously not religious who had come to a distant shul to experience Shabbos davening. After the davening, he approached a kind-looking man and asked him if he could join him for the seudas Shabbos.

“Of course!” the man replied. “But only if you sleep over and join me for the rest of Shabbos.”

“That would be great! But I would need to phone my mother or she will worry about me. Is it still okay for me to join you?”

The host was somewhat uncertain, but indicated that he would wait for him.

After Shabbos, he wondered if he had acted properly. Perhaps he should not have made any condition for his guest, since the call was presumably on his cheshbon, since he had caused it. Not only that, but he had caused the mother to answer her phone and be mechallel Shabbos as well. On the other hand, the guest had refrained from lots of chillul Shabbos he had avoided.

When this question was presented to Rav Yitzchok Zilberstein, he ruled as follows: “It seems that this is permitted, especially if the son calls with a shinui. The mother’s chillul Shabbos is not as bad as you may have thought. In our turbulent times, she would certainly worry for her son, and we have no way to assess whether he can halachically call her because of the possibility that she will come to sakanah. In addition, it seems clear that she would likely call his phone, and maybe his friends and the police as well, so calling her limited her chillul Shabbos as well. The simple fact is that the son is obligated to stay over for Shabbos. Telling him to do what he is halachically obligated to do is not problematic even if he will make the call. If he can be prevailed upon to call with a shinui, that is better. If not, it is still preferable to sending him home” (Chashukei Chemed).

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