Closing The Plant On Shabbos

Shabbos

Closing The Plant On Shabbos

In the city of Lida near Radun, there was a factory which manufactured boots and employed many Jews who worked on Shabbos. The local rabbi tried his best to convince the owners of the plant to close on the Shabbos, but to no avail. The Chofetz Chaim sent them a special request to come and speak with him.
One of them came to see the Chofetz Chaim who said to him: “I have become old and grey, and I will be questioned in the divine Court of Judgement why I, an old and learned rabbi, remained silent before the horrible desecration of Shabbos by several hundreds of Jews who live near me. According to what I have heard, the local rabbi had suggested that the Jews be permitted not to work on the Shabbos and fill their quotas working overtime during the rest of the week.

The plant manager replied to this that his factory was run on the principle of the conveyor belt, and if the Jews stopped working from Shabbos eve, he would be required to close down the entire enterprise.” I can understand from what you have said, replied the Chofetz Chaim, that you have no other suggestions other than to fire all the Jewish workers and hire Gentiles in their place.” The Chofetz Chaim continued that it would be absolutely wrong to deny Jews of their livelihood, and it would be possible to devise a plan which would allow the plant to function and not have the Jews work on Shabbos.

The owners only need the desire to do so, which they obviously do not have. Therefore, I feel obligated to tell you that it is expressly written in our holy Torah: The desecrator of the Shabbos shall die. I have no doubt that this curse shall be carried out either on you, your families, or your descendants, since because of you hundreds of Jews are desecrating the Shabbos. Perhaps you will be swayed by some touch of evil to think that you shall remain unscathed. Just remember what happened to Chava and the serpent. She told the serpent that Hashem told her not to eat of the fruit, for on that day that she will eat from it, she will die. The serpent replied that she would not die. You know her fate.
These emotional and holy words of the Chofetz Chaim shocked the manufacturer. He later told the people that if it were only possible to give up the plant, even at a loss of some thousands of rubles, he would do so immediately. He did just that.