Thursday, Feb 2, 2023

Rosh Hashanah 33: Shabbos Soundings

On this daf, we find a leniency regarding blowing shofar on Shabbos.

A certain shochet was caught playing a musical instrument on Shabbos. Predictably, the shochet claimed that he had forgotten that playing a musical instrument on Shabbos is forbidden and wished to do teshuvah. But the witnesses told a different story.

He said, “We can’t say how he feels now, but when asked why he was playing on Shabbos, he replied that the prohibition is not serious.”

The town’s rov was uncertain whether this constitutes enough of a reason to remove the shochet. He explained to the shochet that he would consult with a competent halachic authority regarding this matter and forbade him from shechting until he received a clear decision.

When this question was presented to the Yehudah Ya’aleh, he permitted the shochet to be reinstated: “You are correct that playing a musical instrument on Shabbos is a multiple violation of a rabbinic prohibition and that some poskim hold that a shochet should be removed for three violations of even rabbinic laws. Nevertheless, even if we agree with the poskim that rabbinic violations are enough to make him like an idolater, that is only if he violated in front of ten people. In our case, he did not do so and also asked to do teshuvah. Nevertheless, it is good that you told him to wait for my reply. A shochet has to be profoundly G-d-fearing and this man’s gross dereliction betrays a marked lack of yiras Shomayim. How could a person with profound yiras Shomayim forget that this is prohibited?

He concluded, “This man may not shecht until he accepts upon himself to be careful in all rabbinic prohibitions and be a proper shochet who exhibits profound yiras Shomayim. From now on, he must do his utmost to remember Hashem always. Only in this manner can he be sure there will not be a recurrence” (Shu”t Yehudah Ya’aleh, Yoreh Deiah, #8).

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