Rabbi Shlomo Nachman's Dvar Torah Offerings
How our services work halachichally
And how you can join us
By Rabbi Shlomo Nachman
We are A House of Active FaithJewish Law (Halacha) forbids 39 specific actions on Shabbat. See my https://learnemunah.com/holidays/shabbat2.html for more on these laws. In this modern internet age opinions vary about the 39 prohibitions and the applicable laws.
Among these prohibitions is the proper observance of number 36 and 37, Extinguishing a fire and Kindling a fire. Two others are also at question, 32 and 33, Writing two letters and Erasing two letters.
Among the questions these four prohibitions raise today is the use of the internet on Shabbat and the yamin tovim (holy days). Does turning on or off a computer amount to extinguishing or kindling a fire, an electric "spark"? Most current Orthodox opinion is that it either does or that it creates the appearance of a violation. Therefore such things should not be done according to most Traditionalist opinions.
There is also debate about online keyboard typing since the letters and words created with a computer keyboard do not constitute the creation of physical letters and words. Again, standard Orthodox opnion is that such should not be done, whether viewed as an actual violation or as a compromise on the protective "hedge" around Shabbat observances. To my knowledge there is no established halacha specifically addressing these two issues. There is only minhag (local or group opinions).
Based on these concerns Jews typically avoid using the internet on Holy Days.
While agreeing with this protective principle, we at LearnEmunah.com note that many people around the world have no access to a shul or other established Jewish community to properly observe these divine appointments. In non-Orthodox communities driving to services is generally permitted as they conclude that attending services is more important than not driving. Orthodoxy generally rejects this compromise and so many religious Jews have no way to get to even local shuls for services. Rabbi Shlomo Nachman is a Sephardic Jew. Sephardic minhag (tradition) is usually to go with the more lenient rulings for the good and encouragement of the community.
This is a serious problem for many people. Because of this minhag based prohibition many elderly Jews sit alone at home or in nursing homes on the holy days rather than joining their fellows at shul as they would prefer. Likewise many Jews for whom a proper shul is miles away likewise have no place to attend services nor to establish meaningful relationships with other Jews. We offer a solution. Our practice, in the absence of established halacha either way, permits people to gather in worship of HaShem with a community that provides mutual support via the internet.
Many years ago Rabbi Aryel Nachman Ben Chaim created the first, complete online Synagogue, the House of Seven Beggars. The name is based on an inspiring story of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov. Our Shabbat and holiday gatherings are based on the principles he elucidated.
How It Works:
In order to comply with established Shabbat halacha and Rabbinic opinion:
Our computers, routers, etc. are turned on well before the beginning of Shabbat and/or other holy days. They remain turned on until well after the conclusion of the day(s). This satisfies the prohibition concerning electricity.
Our LearnEmunah.com Shabbat and holy day services are only available in our Zoom Shul. We no longer broadcast on YouTube on Shabbat so as to avoid the appearance of a violation. Using Zoom one must leave social media and intentionally enter our cyber shul. This method acknowledges the sanctity of Shabbat while permitting active participation in our services.
To take part set up your free Zoom account before Shabbat and create a link via your bookmarks, toolbar etc. All our broadcasts use the same link:
Open the link to our shul room before Shabbat begins. The message will say something like "Waiting for host," When the Shul opens your broadcast should begin automatically. Make sure and turn off your auto-sleep option so you browser remains active. As long as you computer is on before Shabbat and left on until after havdala Saturday evening we see no halachic problem opening your browser with a mouse click and clicking our link.
This method is in complete halachic compliance as utilized with such well established items as Shabbat elevators, Shabbat "stoves" (blech), Shabbat lighting and heating, and so on.
We recommend participating fully as if you were physically present in a regular shul. These are not shows, they are services. Your cameras and mics may be on or off as you prefer. In our Zoom Shul you will be able to take part with live readings etc.if you wish. Speak to Rabbi Shlomo before Shabbat for more information.
WHOEVER you are, regardless of your Jewish movement, regardless of your Jewish status, if you are Noahide, or merely curios and respectful, YOU are welcome at the LearnEmunah.com Shul. We are merely a gathering of like minded people who love HaShem and one another. We hope you will join us.
If you have questions about our services, about how this process works, etc. just let me know.
See you in shul!
Contact Rabbi Shlomo Nachman
PO Box 9703
East Ridge Tn 37412
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