Jewish dopers: Australian football question

Odd topic, bear with me.

From the Melbourne Age:

“Diamond Joe” Gutnick is an Lubitcher (sp?) rabbi, but has no problems with non-Jews playing on the sabbath. The players in question are obviously very liberal Jews, since they play on Friday nights and Saturdays.

Why might this be a problem for Gutnick? To what extent would reformed Jews have a problem with this attitude? To what extent would orthodox Jews endorse this attitude?


As a Jew, and one who likes Rugby, I have this to say:

I have a lot of Orthodox relatives and they are generally accepting of the fact that many Jews who are reformed ignore the rules of the Sabbath (i.e. no work from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown). However, whether they can knowingly CREATE a system that encourages others to break the Sabbath might be a different story (i.e. by recruiting Jewish players). Inevitably, some quasi-orthodox Jew will compromise his religion because he can’t afford to miss the ‘big game’ on Saturday and the President will suffer the ‘religious consequences’ of that (go to Hell, or whatever the belief is…I wouldn’t know being reformed myself).

Of course, no reform Jew would stand for this kind of discrimination because they (and I) don’t follow the extreme rules of the orthodox and feel especially resentful if we are discriminated against by our own kind on the basis that they “know what’s good for us”.

You have answered your own question. The Lubischer(sp?) sect is ultra-orthodox and would view any activity such as playing in a sporting event as a violation of the Sabbath. He has no problem with non-Jews playing because non-Jews are not bound by the Law of Moses and can violate the Sabbath all they want. In the Middle Ages, in fact, it was common for orthodox Jewish communities to have a Gentile available to do on the Sabbath what they were forbidden to do.

While I am sure that we can find humans doing all sorts of things that they are not “supposed” to do in some cases, it would seem that calling the above practice “common” might be a bit of an exaggeration, given that asking a non-Jew to perform prohibited tasks is, itself, prohibited.

Was this “common”?

Regarding the issue of having a gentile around to do things for you on Shabbos…

Both of you (tomanddebb and earendel1) are correct. Technically speaking, having a gentile do prohibited work for you on the Sabbath is, in itself, prohibited. But, these kinds of rules contain loopholes when issues of communal needs come into play. So, asking a gentile to turn on a light in my home is prohibited; asking him to turn on a light in the synagogue is an entirely different matter.

Now, regarding the original post:

Rabbi Gutnick seems to be concerned with the issue of “placing a stumbling block in front of a blind man.” True, it is not Rabbi Gutnick’s problem if another Jew breaks the laws of the Sabbath. But, if the organization the Rabbi runs is responsible for the opportunity to break the Sabbath, then he is an accessory - he created the “stumbling block.”