Friday, October 12, 2018

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Non-Jew Asking about Shabbos Melacha

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

A self-identified non-Jewish reader wrote:  (edited for readability and anonymity)

"I am an avid reader.  While not jewish, I don't believe much of what's being taught in church today.  Too many man made doctrines and prosperity teachings. 

Our father said we would suffer to build our trust in him and teach us lessons about how we should treat others.  I came across a question earlier today and am interested in the answer, because I have a great respect for all people people and would never want to disrupt anyones Sabbath.

The question: 

Suppose an inconsiderate gentile neighbor were listening to music at a fairly high volume on Shabbat, to the point that you could hear it on your own property. Would one be permitted to:

A) directly ask the neighbor to turn the music down (or would this be a forbidden form of requesting melacha for one's own benefit?)   Or 
B) enjoy a song which one happened to like when it came on (assuming the gentile is listening for his own pleasure and there is no input whatsoever from the Jewish neighbor regarding the whether music will be played at all, let alone the playlist)?
Reb Akiva answered:

Thanks for raising an interesting question.  Initially it set me thinking down the path of the halachic (Jewish law) answer... but then I paused and thought, why is a self described non-Jew interested in the answer to the technical intricacies of a Jewish law question?

You wrote, "I have a great respect for all people people and would never want to disrupt anyones Sabbath", and this is shows a wonderful concern for your fellow man and a consideration that we see from G-d's commandments to all people (the seven Noachide laws) are expected from all mankind.

So I commend you for your interest, and as a non-Jew believe it is your best interest to focus on the 7th Noachide law, to 'establish courts of law and ensure justice in our world'.  Justice is not just laws, if so the requirement would not state to establish courts and ensure justice, it would just state the former.  Justice is about a baseline morality and balancing the competing needs and desires of each person, as well as accommodating and compromising to allow each person maximize their situation while minimizing the impact to others.

As humans we will never be perfect in doing so, but it's reaching for the G-dly for us to strive as best we can.  

In this particular time of accusations, social justice protests, inflamed community relations, and unbalanced societal issues... voices of sanity, reasonableness, respect and accommodation are sorely needed.

Blessings,
Reb Akiva  

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