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I Made A Phone call on Shabbat

Friday, 5 October, 2012 - 12:37 pm

Twice in my life I picked up the phone on Shabbat and made a phone call. The first time was about 15 years ago. The last time was just this past Shabbat. Everyone is familiar with this; you don’t call a religious Jew on Shabbat or other Jewish holidays. Once a week, for twenty four hours, we switch to wireless silence mode. There needs to be a very serious situation in order for a Shabbat observant Jew to use the phone on Shabbat. However even small children in Cheder learn that in case of an emergency one is allowed to break the Shabbat laws in order to help. We also learned in Cheder, that not only is it „allowed“ but it is actually a Mitzva and obligation to do everything possible to help save a life.

For one who is not used to disconnet from the phone and other electric devices once a week, it may sound like a difficult  or even almost impossible thing to do. From my experience I can tell you , not only is it not difficult,  it’s definitely not impossible, but I even think the opposite to be true; it is impossible to be connected to  the phone, music and many other positive things for seven days a week consecutively. If you know me, I am very much connected to technology and music, and I enjoy it much more after the weekly break of twenty four hours. I don’t think one hast to be a religious person to appreciate this. It is an amazing gift which the Torah has taught us.

Nevertheless, in an emergency situation, the sanctity of life is more important than the sanctity of Shabbat and when there is a need to call for help, then the phone becomes the biggest Mitzvah on Shabbat.

When it happened to me fifteen years ago, I was in Israel next to my father. One of the people at the synagogue fainted on Shabbat and instead of calling himself, my father sent me to run over to the phone and call the ambulance. Until today I remember the strange feeling of  dialing the number.

This past Shabbat, however, it was something much more personal. During a happy children’s play, my sweet little daughter fell and lost conscience for one long minute, which to me as a father seemed like eternity. Still in shock from what was happening,  I knew clearly what I needed to do. In the middle of Shabbat I dialed the emergency doctor, who instructed us to come to the hospital immediately. Chaya did come back to herself and regained full conscience, but according to the doctor’s orders we called a taxi and Rivky went with Chaya to the hospital. they checked her and thank G-d, all was perfectly fine, but they still decided to keep her there to be under supervision and bed rest for 48 hours.

Now it was of course much less scary but still a bit difficult. I had stayed home with the other children and very much wanted to go to the hospital and see how Chaya was doing. But who will stay with the kids? I cannot call a baby sitter, since now it was really not an emergency situation anymore.

Then came a knock on the door. Our angel came. Our guest for Shabbat dinner, our dear friend Dana was here and immediately offered to help and stay with the kids. We made Kiddush and ate a quick Shabbat meal. Then I was able to leave for the hospital, knowing that everyone was in good hands.

When I arrived there, I saw that everything was ok and that Chaya felt fine, I was so happy and thanked G-d for this great gift which he has given us.

As Jews, we are commanded to always be happy, but on the holiday of Sukkot one is supposed to be even happier  than usual. Sukkot is also called „Zman Simchatenu -  the time of our rejoycing“.

About an hour and half before the onset of the Sukkot holiday on Sunday evening, Chaya was discharged from the hospital and we were able to go home to celebrate the Sukkot holiday.

This year I was able to feel the holiday Simcha (happiness) even more.

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach!

Rabbi Chaim

Thank you to Dana, Tamar, Sarit and Thomas for making Chaya’s hospital stay over Shabbat so much easier for all of us!


Picture: Goodbye hospital



Comments on: I Made A Phone call on Shabbat

David wrote...

B"H everything turned out to be fine!

Shabbat shalom

Jenny wrote...

We meet Chaya at Deby and Mendel's for sukkoth lunch and Sasha and Theo was told to entertain her but not to be wild. She did great in the sofa! Shabbat shalom!

Debbie Sammy wrote...

What a shock! It is a desperate feeling when something is wrong with one of our children. Truly happy that all turned out well. Shabbat Shalom

tamara wrote...

שבת שלום למשפחת דרוקמן
והחלמה מהירה להורים
חיה נראת דווקא טוב מאד

Dani Jochelson wrote...

Chaim you are an amazing father and Rabbi and we are all so happy to see that your precious daughter is safe, happy and perfectly okay. She is a very special little girl who we adore. Love Dani

Paul Brach wrote...

B"H everything was fine! May you and your family have a good rest of the holiday and a good year! Shalom, Paul