Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

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29 Adar II 5760 - April 5, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Neka Chemicals Agrees to Stop Shabbos Advertising

by Yated Ne'eman Staff

In a letter from the CEO of Neka Chemicals Company to Chief Rabbi of Petach Tikvah HaRav Boruch Shimon Solomon, the company announced that it has decided to stop advertising in the electronic media on Shabbos.

Neka Chemicals, which makes household cleaning products, is located in Petach Tikvah and it has a longstanding relationship with the rabbinate there. The company has a mehadrin certification from the Petach Tikvah rabbinate for many of its products.

In addition to his duties as Chief Rabbi of Petach Tikvah, HaRav Solomon is the rosh yeshiva of the Nachalas Dovid yeshiva in Petach Tikvah and a tireless activist for shemiras Shabbos.

Religious spokesman greeted the announcement with great pleasure, saying that the decision was in important one for the common Jewish cause of Shabbos kodesh. "The entire religious community deeply appreciates the decision of Neka and goes out of its way to show its appreciation of the bold and proud actions of the company. We hope that Neka will serve as a model for other companies who do business in the Holy Land but have not internalized the lesson that chillul Shabbos is not the way to increased profits," said a spokesman in the Hebrew Yated Ne'eman.

HaRav Solomon wrote back to CEO Chaim Regev of Neka:

"It is my pleasant duty to acknowledge your decision to refrain from advertising the products of your company on Shabbos kodesh. What you can expect is known, and illustrated by the story quoted in Shabbos (119a) about Yosef Mokir Shabbos, who was so-called because of his well known efforts to honor Shabbos in any way that he could. In the merit of his efforts for Shabbos, he once bought a large fish in honor of Shabbos (for which no one else wanted to pay the high price) and he found within it a precious stone that enriched him materially.

"My blessing to you is that you should enjoy financial success because of your courageous decision to honor Shabbos, and that a `fish' with a precious stone will turn up in your `net.' "

Companies and their senior officers often come under public pressure from the anti-religious press and politicians who say that the "cave in" to "religious blackmail" for keeping Shabbos.

In another Shabbos story, the Israel Airport Authority and its Workers Committee told the Knesset Committee for Labor and Welfare that they do not, nor will they ever, create difficulties for shomer Shabbos employees.

A discussion on this issue was raised at a Committee meeting last week by MKs Rabbi Moshe Gafni of United Torah Judaism and Yitzchok Gaugola of Shas. Rabbi Gafni noted that many workers have told him that the Airport Authority has discriminated against them became they are shomrei Shabbos. "The fact that the Airport Authority works on Shabbos is bad enough. A Jewish state is obligated to observe the Shabbos, even at its airport, except for emergency or life-threatening cases. However, it is inconceivable to violate the law and then to hinder the advancement of shomrei Shabbos personnel," Rabbi Gafni declared.

Rabbi Gafni cited a number of complaints by Airport Authority workers on this issue. He noted that in addition to the public and ethical offense of this phenomenon, it is in violation of the laws of the State of Israel.

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