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I am presently sitting shiv'ah for my beloved father, Dovid ben Chayim Yosef, alav hashalom, hk"m, so I am not allowed to write words of Torah. Instead, I would like to share with you a story I told at his funeral this past Sunday.
When my grandfather z"l, came to the USA, it was very difficult to be Shabbos observant. If one did not come to work on Saturday, he was told not to bother coming in on Monday. Religious Jews had to find a new job every week and eventually ran out of options. Unfortunately, many eventually felt forced to succumb, in order to support their families, and, against their will, went to work on Shabbos (of course, we cannot judge them, because we don't know how we might have acted in such a situation - may Hashem protect us from trials).
My grandfather, Chaim Yosef Sobel z"l, decided that he would never work on Shabbos. In order to make this vow a reality, he opened his own modest necktie factory, where he could dictate his working conditions. In this way, he never violated the Holy Day.
During World War II, my father, a''h, was drafted into the Armed Forces. Somehow, he arranged that rather than have to fight in Europe, he would be able to work on a farm in Connecticut for the Government. However, the job demanded that he work on Shabbos. He asked the Matisdorfer Rav zt"l what he was required to do and the Rabbi told him that just as every soldier is allowed to work on Shabbos, since he is being forced to by the government which has no bad intentions of making him violate the Torah, merely their own interests in mind, so too he may work on the Holy Day if he is told to do so. The first Shabbos, my father went out into the field and picked up a shovel. However, something inside of him gave him no peace. His father had, sacrificially, withstood every temptation to work on Shabbos, and he would violate it! He threw the shovel away and declared that he would not work on Shabbos no matter what they would do to him. Perhaps they would put him in jail or give him some other punishment, but he would not give in.
And then, the most amazing thing happened. His superiors, seeing how full of conviction he was, freed him from working on Shabbos and he was never asked to do so again.
May his memory be a blessing to us all.
Shema Yisrael Torah Network