In light of the plan of the Tel Aviv municipality and several other localities to begin bus service on Shabbos, the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of Agudath Iisrael of America has issued the following request that each person work on strengthening their own and their family’s shemiras Shabbos:
At this time, when our brothers and sisters in Eretz Yisroel need rachamei Shomayim to protect them from malicious enemies, rachmana litzlan, it is shocking to hear that there are some within Klal Yisroel who seek to profane the precious gift of Shabbos. Every Jewish heart should feel anguish over what is happening in the palace of the King. Our tefillos are always that those wayward sons who stray from Torah return to their Father and to mesoras Yisroel. But the mandate of the hour is for all Jews faithful to Torah and mitzvos to strengthen ourselves regarding kedushas Shabbos, to have it elevate our lives and beautify the path of Hashem we tread.
Toward that end, let us increase our resolve to observe Shabbos as it should be observed, with dignity and true Shabbos enjoyment – words of Torah, tefillah and zemiros. And to try with all our might to make Shabbos a day of tranquility and holiness, meriting reward in this world, beyond the merit reserved for us in the next one, as the Rambam explains at the end of Hilchos Shabbos.
And so we suggest here some ways to better internalize kedushas Shabbos. Every person should judge what is best for himself.
1) To light Shabbos candles a few minutes earlier than required (even during these short days, if possible), so that the lights will be burning in our homes approximately a half-hour before sunset.
2) To study and review practical halachos pertinent to Shabbos during Shabbos meals.
3) To sing zemiros along with our b’nei mishpachah with feeling, thereby awakening Shabbos’ tranquility and joy.
4) To awaken ourselves to the words of Chazal that our speech on Shabbos be different from our speech during the week, in particular at our seudos, to add to them a greater spiritual dimension.
May Hashem, as a result of all these things, bequeath us the day that will be “entirely and eternally Shabbos and menuchah.”
Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of America