Ethics

For the week ending 30 May 2009 / 6 Sivan 5769

Avoiding Indirect Partnership

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Question: I live next door to a Jew who does not observe the Shabbat. When I asked him if he would allow me to build my succah on the area between our homes where he parks his car he generously consented. It then occurred to me that giving up his private parking space would necessitate his driving on Shabbat and the Holiday an additional distance in order to find a parking space. What is the right thing to do?

Answer: The response given to this question by Rabbi Yitzchak Zilberstein, the rav of the Ramat Elchanan community in Bnei Brak, serves as a guideline for situations such as this. He ruled that it was certainly wrong to accept his neighbor's offer if this would cause him to increase his violation of the holy days. He suggested that he try to convince the neighbor to refrain from driving on those days so that his generosity would not backfire into making his observant neighbor an indirect partner in his disrespect for Shabbat and Holiday.

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