Halakhic ruling: Carry phones on Shabbat in Lod

Rabbi Chaim Shmila tells congregants danger to life presented by riots necessitates taking action to help authorities catch attackers/

Tags: Shabbat Riots Lod
Arutz Sheva Staff ,


Rabbi Chaim Shmila, a community rabbi in Lod, ordered the Jewish residents to walk around with telephones on Shabbat, use WhatsApp and photograph the riots in order to reinforce the authorities' ability to gather intelligence on the dangerous situation in the city, Yisrael Hayom reported.

The rabbi explained that in the current situation in Lod, if a resident see an event in the city such as the burning of trash cans, the throwing of stones or Molotov cocktails, the use of a weapon or someone walking with it on the street in a threatening manner, "and even a group of people when there is a fear that it could develop into an event with some risk," the police should be called immediately.

"Anyone in or near these areas is allowed to walk with a weapon and telephone on Shabbat, for reporting, deterrence, or use in a life-threatening case. It is also permissible to report the case to WhatsApp groups related to security matters in the city, and those that are able to assist or report or create pressure in order for factors to arrive to operate the event, it is permissible for them to read these messages on Shabbat," he added.

According to Rabbi Shmila, it is also permissible to photograph these events. "It is permissible to photograph the event when the photograph does not endanger the photographer's life, because the photographs can be used to identify the rioters, focus the forces, and even strengthen information and awareness and public relations that also has the power to make decision makers make the right decisions."

Rabbi Shmila explained the considerations for the permission of these actions which are normally forbidden for Orthodox Jews on Shabbat: "This is a clear state of danger to life, and therefore any action that has the power to prevent or reduce personal injury is a permissible and even necessary action."

"This is not a situation of isolated and private danger to life, in which case there may sometimes be considerations of a minority in the prohibitions or of examining things more in depth, but it is now a situation of public and extensive danger to life and therefore the very exercise of the greater-than-normal considerations may result in danger to life due to delays in response or inability to distinguish between cases and decisions and mistaken decisions," the rabbi wrote.