For those who would like to better understand why the station is off the air on shabbos, except for our randomly played message saying that we are off, below please read the reply from a Rabbi at Chabad.org that helped us make the decision:
Having the radio automatically play on Shabbat may not technically be a prohibition of violating shabbat but there are a number of other issues. According to some, broadcasting on a radio show geared specifically towards Jews and is heard on Shabbat is a violation of Lifnei Iver (putting a stumbling block before the blind). (see Tzitz Eliezer Vol. XVI) . Additionally, there is potentially an issue of marit ayin or at the very least, not in the spirit of Shabbat.
At the same time, it would seem that having a repeating recording informing listeners that we are off the air for shabbos and will return after sunset Saturday, may be the way to go.
While on the topic, I copied and pasted correspondents that Avraham fried had with someone regarding this very issue.
In his words, before making his album "No Jew will be left behind" he wrote a letter to the Lubavitcher Rebbe explaining his idea, and the Rebbe wrote back wishing him hatzlachah -- and instructing him to print the words "Please do not play this recording on Shabbos and Jewish holidays" on the album.
"It seemed like a strange suggestion," says Avraham fried. "After all, how many people were there who were into chassidic music but not into Shabbos?" but he says It was a suggestion that could only have been made by someone who belived that no Jew will be left behind -- that even one transgression by one Yid is too much.
However, just a few years ago he got the following letter from a Jew in Israel...
Dear Avraham Fried,
From An Anonymous Jew,
I grew up listening and singing your music in our shabbos table and in all of our happy occasions. And as a kid in Jerusalem, I also remember going to Gan Soccer with the family to one of your concerts.
I am today not religious. But to this day I listen and I am inspired by your powerful, spiritual, and soul touching music.
I am so spiritually connected to your music that I am tempted to play it on shabbos. I get disappointed that the only available music I have on shabbos is the meaningless non-jewish stuff. But I wanted to let you know that I have kept your request dear to me and I will not, even at gun point, play your music on shabbos.
Today, during my darkest and happiest moments, I will tune in to your music for inspiration and hope.
Your music is a kindle to my long lost Jewish soul and it is keeping me alive, both physically and spiritually.
My life would simply be meaningless without it.
So before you go to bed at night or the next time you’re having a rough day, keep in mind that your music is quite literally touching my soul and giving me tremendous hope.
– – – – –
To an anonymous Jew:
Thank you for writing one of the most powerful letters that I have ever received in my 36 years of singing.
If I would respond to all the details of the letter it would take a very long time.
So I just want to say this:
I would love to meet you one day and hear your story face to face.
It was the [Lubavitcher] Rebbe who told me 36 years ago when I was releasing the CD No Jew Will Be Left Behind, to print the words: please do not play on Shabbos and Yom Tov.
Perhaps he saw you and the struggle you will have with Yiddishkeit and asked me to print those words so this can be your own unique way of remembering that it’s Shabbos by not playing my music.
A Rebbe can see things way ahead of its time!
For someone who calls himself not religious, your soul however seems to be on fire!
You’re so in touch with your spirituality.
How lucky I am that thru my music I have a part in keeping that spark alive.
Stay tuned as a new cd is coming soon IYH.
I say to you, Chazak Chazak!
Please keep in touch.
Let me know if this helps.
All the best,
Rabbi Yehuda Shurpin"
~ ~ ~
As you can imagine, after hearing this story, how can we too not include on our station a message requesting that we are not to be heard on Shabbat?
Wishing you all of the best,
Dovid Roetter, Executive Director