Shabbos in general, and Shabbos meals in particular, are probably the most transformational experiences that one could offer to a non-affiliated Jew. While every ba’al teshuvah has a unique story and set of elements which influenced him/her, Shabbos almost always features as a significant element.
May one invite someone for Shabbos who is then going to drive? This issue is pertinent in the USA, where suburban living leads to most people living miles away from a synagogue. The USA is not unique in this respect, however. For example, in the large FSU cities, Jews are typically spread throughout the city (as there is no Jewish area), while Jewish institutions are usually concentrated toward the center of the city. In Moscow, the problem was partially solved by renting Shabbos apartments for guests and by beginning new communities. However, this will not work as well in the USA. Many outreach professionals feel that if they cannot invite unaffiliated Jews for Shabbos, they would be missing out on some of the most valuable kiruv opportunities.
The issue of causing one to drive on Shabbos is so serious that Rav Shmuel Wosner ruled that a Shabbos bris milah should be postponed if it would generate Shabbos desecration when transporting the baby or taking pictures, etc. Although many disagree with him, his statement
is an indication of the seriousness of the issue. It is therefore vital to remember that even according to the lenient views that are enumerated below, we are obligated to reduce chillul Shabbos in any way we can.
Please refer to the archives below for our previously published chapters of the Laws of Outreach:
Chapter V: Halachic Applications of Tinokos Shenishbu in our Time
Chapter VI: Lifnei Iver
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