'It is a mitzvah to break Shabbat to stop an arsonist'

The Chief Rabbi of Tzfat responds to the question of how to respond upon encountering an Arab committing arson.

Arutz Sheva Staff,

Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu
Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu
Flash 90

Within the context of the fires currently raging around Israel, Chief Rabbi of Tzfat Shmuel Eliyahu was asked how one should behave, according to Jewish law, should one encounter an Arab starting a fire on Shabbat - or any other day of the week.

Jewish law forbids Jews from extinguishing fires on Shabbat - unless risk to human life is involved.

Rabbi Eliyahu replied, “The Prime Minister has defined the fires as terror. One of the heads of the Shin Bet called it a ‘weapon of mass destruction.’ Miraculously, people were not burned alive - but we don’t rely on miracles.”

“It is certainly allowed and a mitzvah [divine command] to break the Shabbat in order to stop a fire and perpetrators of fires. And if needed - shoot at them.

“I hope that the IDF Chief of Staff and Police Chief will give clear instructions to soldiers and police and civilians which make it understood that the fires are not over - it is their responsibility to do so.”




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