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      ‘If One Jew Observes Because of Court, That’s a Great Thing’

      Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbi Yosef Gerlitzky spoke with Arutz Sheva about stores in Tel Aviv that received a court order to close on Shabbat.
      By Chana Ya'ar, Yoni Kempinsky
      First Publish: 6/30/2013, 2:45 PM

      A court order that leads to a Jew observing Shabbat (the Biblical Sabbath) can be a great thing, says Chabad-Lubavitch emissary Rabbi Yosef Gerlitzky.

      The Central Tel Aviv Rabbi spoke with Arutz Sheva about the stores in Tel Aviv that have received an order from the court telling them they must close on Shabbat.

      Gerlitsky, Rabbi of Central Tel Aviv and director of Chabad Tel Aviv, says that “If one Jew will observe Shabbat because the courts have said ‘You have to close your store because of Shabbat,’ that’s a great thing.”

      Gerlitsky went on to explain, however, that a court order isn’t really the point.

      “The issue of Shabbat (Sabbath) is that the Holy One, Blessed Be He, gave us Shabbat and the Ten Commandments and we have to observe Shabbat .... 26 hours from lighting the candles until Saturday night – and to make Kiddush (blessing over the wine) and havdalah (blessing separating the Sabbath from the rest of the week), and to bring together the Jewish family with praying and studying and singing. That is what Shabbat is all about, and that is what we are campaigning for,” the rabbi said.

      It’s a gift to the Jewish People, he added. The first person to oppose it, to denigrate it, was the Pharaoh in Egypt “when we were slaves.”

      Chabad of Tel Aviv is in the midst of a special campaign to publicize  the importance of Shabbat, he said, and has publicized the issue in all the bus stations and buses. “Every house received a brochure about Shabbat,” Gerlitsky told Arutz Sheva.

      “We received calls from neighborhoods all over Tel Aviv, tens of thousands of people called, asking about Shabbat, ‘where could we study about Shabbat, where could we come to pray on Shabbat, where could we have a seudat Shabbat (Sabbath meal) that we could see what a Shabbat table is all about,’ ... therefore this year we will come out with a much greater campaign,” he smiled, “including our Shabbat candle lighting campaign on the beach.”