Tuesday, November 30, 2010

New York Post: A Rabbi wrote on shabbos!

Rabbi Emert is mad that a
cop asked him to do
something he
ultimately decided he
was permitted to do 
Last weekend, Rabbi Sholom Emert crossed against the light, and got stuck between the traffic lanes. A cop saw, and ticketed him for jaywalking. Because it was Shabbos, Emert had no ID on him, so the cop told him he had to write his name on the ticket. Emert complied, and is now screaming to the newspapers that the cop demonstrated no respect for his beliefs.

And of course, the Post is all to pleased to publish his complaint.
"I had no choice. When someone [threatens to] put you in cuffs, you can be [detained for] 24 hours. I have a wife and four kids at home" and "He was very inconsiderate of my beliefs and very nasty with me"
Stuff I'd like to know and things I would have asked after the jump.
Plus a video!

>> Read more after the jump.

  • From a halchic perspective is Emert telling the truth when he says he "had no choice." The cop didn't put his life in danger, so was there any justification to break Shabbbos?  Shouldn't he have just gone to jail? Would something have happened to the wife and four kids had Elmert gone to jail that might justify his violation of the halacha?
  • Did the Rabbi have the presence of mind to write his name with a shinui? And if he did, why is he crying? If he wrote with a shinui the Shabbos desecration is minor, if it was even a true desecration at all. 
  • Did the cop do anything wrong? Is there some protocol regarding Jews and shabbos that he ignored?
  • Isn't it a little PC for Emert to expect/demand special treatment on the grounds that he has a belief that the cop is required to "respect"? And don't Orthodox Jews usually mock PC considerations?
In short, I think Elmert is expecting the police officer to respect shabbos more than Elmert respects it himself.  If the cop was wrong to ask Elmert to write down his name, Elmert was wrong to comply. He should have gone to jail.  And if there was some loophole such as shinui or the waiting wife which made writing permissible, what exactly did the cop do wrong? He asked Elmert to perform an act that he was permitted to do, and Elmert did it.

So where's the scandal?

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