Tuesday, 24 December 2013

JVO: Performing on Shabbat

Jewish Values Online is a website that presents the Jewish view on a variety of issues. Some of these issues are specifically Jewish, and some relate to the world around us --  then presents answers from each of the denominations of Judaism. Nishmablog's Blogmaster, Rabbi Wolpoe and Nishma's Founding Director, Rabbi Hecht, both serve as Orthodox members on their Panel of Scholars.

This post continues our series on the Nishmablog that features responses on JVO by one of our two Nishma Scholars who are on this panel. This week's presentation is about one of the questions to which Rabbi Wolpoe responded.

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Question: I am a performer, and sometimes i have a show on Shabbat. What do I do if i want to celebrate Shabbat, but I already have a prior commitment? What about when I feel really bad about not following the Jewish Law?

At first glance, it depends upon one's commitment to Shabbat.

From an Orthodox perspective, all Jewish souls are already bound by an oath at Mt. Sinai to keep the Shabbat. The only exemptions that come to mind would be in cases of life and death - EG Medical or Military Emergencies.

An Orthodox role model may be found in the great singer and cantor -Dudu Ficher
Dudu Fisher - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
«He played the role on New York's Broadway during the winter of 1993-1994, and later at London's West End, where he was invited to perform before Queen Elizabeth II. At both venues, Fisher was the first performer excused from Friday night and Saturday performances, as he is an Orthodox Jew and was not able to perform because of the Sabbath.»


In the ideal situation, commitment to Shabbat trumps commitment to perform.

I'm not clear as to the nature of the performance.  Possibly some loopholes exist that would allow one to perform without  violating  the core 39 Labors prohibited on Shabbat. And so, a consultation with a highly qualified rabbi might find just a "loophole".

That said, I would not recommend that path for any committed Jew. Even if technically feasible, it would
violate many Shabbat principles, etc. that go beyond the core prohibitions.

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