[Avodah] carrying an ID card on shabbat

Chana Luntz Chana at kolsassoon.org.uk
Fri Mar 15 03:19:46 PDT 2013

I wrote:

>> I am not going to deal with the issue in detail regarding a shvus 
>> d'shvus letzorech mitzvah - because I note that there is a teshuva 
>> directly on point from the Kol Mevasser chelek 1 siman 79.

>Who is the author of this sefer?

>Rabbi Meshulam Rath (1875-1963).

>> He doesn't mention war or any emergency, rather the question is about
carrying some sort of identity 
>> card (teudat hamishtara) in one's hat purely due to a "gezera hamalchus".

>When and where did he live, and what were the circumstances at the time?
What were the consequences at the time for defying a "gezeras hamalchus"?

Born in 1875 in Poland, was a Rav in Romania for a while. Immigrated to
Israel in 1949. Died in Bnei Brak in 1963.  Possibly a bit too Zionist for
your taste - but the halachic point that a shvus d'shvus b'mkom mitzvah
would seem to be pretty standard, plus the additional shvus if it can be
deemed to be a Carmalis.

Earlier I wrote:

>> If you are a slightly anti-semitic police officer (or even just a
stickler for law 
>> enforcement), you have just been handed a piece of knowledge that 
>> could enable you to  have lot of fun harassing Orthodox Jews - all 
>> perfectly legally.  [...] After all, if I was a purely mercenary 
>> minded member of the local authority, I might rather appreciate having 
>> found a way of generating yet more money for my budget by way of an 
>> "Orthodox Jew Tax" - and quite happy to authorise my police officers to
go on a collection mission every shabbas.

And RZS replied:

>This is precisely why I think it's important for the Dutch community to
resist this, and *not* to find any heterim to comply.  A deliberate campaign
 >harass and mulct shomrei shabbos comes pretty close to "she'as hashmad".
An individual may be able to find a heter for himself, but in doing so he
only >makes it worse >for the community.

Tricky - because while individuals (including police officers) may well be
motivated by anti-semitism, the overall law is not, and in theory at least,
any group who decided to disobey the law would be subject to the same
harassment.  Indeed, I believe the real purpose of the law is to catch
illegal immigrants, many of whom are Muslim, and it is those communities
which have traditionally been harassed.  If the Orthodox Jewish community
fights this, and indeed does get the authorities to back down, which again
will need to happen publically, the same "heter" will then be available to
the Muslim communities.  And given the unfortunate reality that some
elements in the Muslim communities in Europe do pose a real pikuach nefesh
threat to the Jewish community, I am not sure that the Jewish community
would not prefer, overall, to find a halachic solution involving k'l'acher
yad and a shvus to shvus than to fight in order to have Al Qaeda operatives
able to more easily move around the country.

Zev Sero               A citizen may not be required to offer a 'good and



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