Derech HaMelech

The Weekly Raid From Galus

Monday, August 3, 2009

An anecdote about the differrence between Chassidim and non-Chassidim

This or....
this? You choose.....

The difference between Chassidim and non-Chassidim is best exemplified by the controversy surrounding the wearing of a watch on the Sabbath. A non-Chassidic individual will not wear a watch on the Sabbath for a variety of reasons, some of which are as follows: It is unclear whether the watch is considered to be an article of clothing and/or a piece of jewelry even though it may be worn in this manner. The problem is that one cannot resolutely declare that one’s watch is, because if it breaks or stops it would not be worn, thereby ceasing to be useful to its owner causing the watch to be prohibited from wearing or carrying for 4 amos (about 6 feet) in the public domain or even to touch it at all on the Sabbath - how much more so carrying or transporting it from the private to public domain - regardless of the presence of an eruv. Even if it was a functioning watch, many halachic authorities discourage wearing a watch based on these questionable leniences, not to mention that it is prohibited for men to wear jewelry (Devorim 22:5). (see Bi’ur Halacha simon 303:18 ד"ה כי בזה; Shulchan Aruch HaRav simon 303:23; SS”K simon 18:12, footnote 109 and simon 18:27; Iggros Moshe Orach Chaim 1 simon 111; and Minchas Yitzchak vol. I simon 67).

On the other hand, no pun intended, many Chassidim will not wear a watch on the Sabbath because the Sabbath is timeless. It allows us to break free from our enslavement to time. The Sabbath gives us the opportunity one day a week to devote our complete attention and our "time" to serving the Master of the World.

For us, the concept of time does not exist on the Sabbath. We have 25+ hours (Tosefes Shabbos, Rabbeinu Tam, etc.) of limitless freedom. In fact, some of us, if we could, would observe the Sabbath until Tuesday, which is the last time one is able to say the blessing separating the Sabbath from the rest of the week. Those of you who are familiar with the Amshinover Rebbe, shlita, of Jerusalem, know that I am not exaggerating this possibility (of keeping the Sabbath until Tuesday), as I believe he does so every week. The Amshinover Rebbe, shlita, is an example of a extraordinarily holy servant of G-d for whom time is irrelevant in the pursuit of closeness to his Maker. During weekly prayers, some Chassidim have later prayer times as well e.g. morning prayers at 11am, etc. to ensure proper concentraition and preparation before we stand in front of The King of the World to sing praises unto Him during each prayer session (see Mishnah Brochos, 5:1). How much more so should this release from the constraints of time apply on the Sabbath, where our actions and preparation determine not only the level of prayers on the Sabbath itself, but they also determine the content and flow of the entire Spiritual Universe for the week to come!


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