Q. When the Torah (Lev. 19:3) says to respect your parents, why does it add, “and keep My Sabbaths”?
A. Rashi explains that honouring parents has its limits; if parents tell you to break the Sabbath you do not need to obey, since both you and your parents are obligated to honour God, the Heavenly Parent.
However, the Codes of Jewish law insist that a child who feels bound to disobey must still be respectful and polite. Standing up for the Sabbath is no excuse for being rude.
The lesson unfortunately seems to have escaped some fanatical elements in Israeli society who believe they are defending Shabbat by throwing stones at their fellow-Jews, vandalising other people’s property and even trashing their places of worship and prayer books.
Years ago when there were stone-throwing incidents in Jerusalem and one of my sons was at yeshivah, a fellow student asked the rabbi, “Is it allowed to throw stones on Shabbat?” and the teacher replied, “The real question is whether it is allowed even on weekdays!”