Ask the rabbi

  • Shabbat and Holidays
  • Regarding the Non-Observant

Driving on Shabbat


Rabbi Elchanan Lewis

26 Elul 5766
Hello My father in Law is religious, my wife and I are not. We are coming back to Israel after a long time living in America. My father in law has stated that we can not come to "EREV SHABBAT" if we do not spend the whole Shabbat in his place. He says that he is not allowed to have guests if he knows they plan to drive on Shabbat. My question is, is this correct I really want to have a good relationship with my father in law and soon we do plan to have kids and I want them to be part of his Erev Shabbat. Your answer will be greatly appreciated. Thanks
A person should make sure he does not break the laws of Shabbat as well as others don't because of him. Driving on Shabbat is a violation of Torah law and if you do so because of your father-in-law, he shares the responsibility for that. His request is therefore fair and very simple as well. Your will to let your children have a taste of Shabbat is a valid one and if it means to stay throughout the Shabbat – it is worth it. In extreme cases there might be a more lenient approach, let your father-in-law discuss this with his rabbi to give a specific ruling on this specific matter.
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