Ask The Rabbi

Sabbath Police

The Color of HeavenArtscroll
Topic: Chicago Shootings

John Padavic, Memphis, TN wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

Last weekend after the shootings in Chicago, it was reported that the Jewish victims would not talk to the police until after the Sabbath. Since the shooter was still at large, and other people were in danger, does Jewish law forbid Jews from talking to the police on the Sabbath?


Dear John Padavic,

Let me tell you a story: A man walks up to a newsstand and asks for a newspaper. "Two dollars, please," says the storekeeper.

"Two dollars! Its only a dollar and a half. It says so right here," he says, pointing to the words "Price: $1.50" on top of the front page in bold print.

"You believe everything you read in the paper?" says the storekeeper.

The media reports are simply false. I know some of the Jewish people involved in Chicago, and they did cooperate with the police fully on Shabbat (Sabbath). This is in accordance with the principle that human life overrides the Shabbat.

I personally spoke to Dr. Benzion Allswang, an orthodox Jew from Chicago, who was there at the shootings. Dr. Allswang was walking to synagogue when the killer pulled up in his car. A loud noise came from the car. Since it was the 4th of July weekend, Dr. Allswang thought it was some sort of prankster throwing a firecracker. The car pulled closer and fired another three shots. Allswang felt some wind, but that was all. The shooter drove off and Allswang flagged down a policeman.

Not until 11:30 that night, Friday night, did Allswang notice the hole in his shirt in the vicinity of the abdomen. Two minutes later the police arrived to further investigate the incident and he told them the whole story again. The police asked to see his jacket. Lo and behold! There were three bullet holes in his jacket! Only then did he realized the extent of the miracle. "I recited the special hagomel (thanks-giving) blessing the next day with more thankfulness and concentration than Id ever prayed before!" Allswang said.


 
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