Don’t get me wrong. They must be very intelligent and holy, knowledgeable and wise. But apparently one can be all of that and still wrong.
They want Jerusalemites to push back on Shabbat violations. That should happen by closing all entertainment that happens on Shabbat (so that non-religious will flee the city), no spending any money in stores that are open on Shabbat (so that they must start toeing the line) and broadcasts of the Shabbat candle lighting times (for those who don’t know what the weekly siren means?). How could that be wrong? I’ll tell you.
If G^d wanted us to keep Shabbat, He would have forced us. But He didn’t. He commanded us and that’s it. He wants us to choose Shabbat. Free Will – heard of it?
If the Chief Rabbis want to play G^d, they should make Shabbat keeping something worthwhile. They should spread teaching the value of Shabbat. But better still: increase the experience of Shabbat.
They should call upon the religious Jerusalemites to invite non-religious Jews for a Shabbat meal. There is no learning like that from practice.
But that’s not all. Instead of preaching to guests, the hosts should learn to respect their guests. That means listening to them, supporting them, loving them and trying to learn from them. If they think they’re superior, they will not succeed teaching the Jewish way. And they will miss out on learning Jewish ways that the non-religious specialize in!
Of course, this is all not so simple. But that is what G^d wants: that we earn our merit by the sweat of our brow, instead of lazily claiming that we’re OK and that we should just be trying to enforce compliance.
We Jews are commanded to love all Jews – not just the ones who look like us, do like us and think like us. The Chief Rabbis warn against political trends to commercialize Jerusalem 7/24. What they propose is the same: politics, going by profit and numbers for their narrow goals. Yet, they should stop playing the sole representatives of the religious.
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There are only three options to get more Shabbat observance:
1. To make laws to protect workers rights. Yet, the Jewish way is to strengthen the responsibilities of all, not the rights. The end result of all people having rights or all people acting responsibly is the same, but it’s far more superior to get everyone to put in their fair share than to have everyone fight for receiving their fair share (also in married life).
2. To enforce and coerce Shabbat adherence. However, as I explained above, that’s against G-d’s plan too.
3. In the free marketplace of ideas, to compete fairly with our ideas. May the best win. That’s the Jewish way. Stop playing politics with Jerusalem.