Is allowing questions to be asked on a website on Shabbos against Halacha? And is answering them helping encourage Chilul Shabbos?

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    How would we know it was asked on Shabbos? I don't think there's ever a time where it is Shabbos across the world. – Tzvi Dec 11 '10 at 22:59
  • See also: mi.yodeya.com/questions/2671/… – Isaac Moses Dec 12 '10 at 6:32
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    Just after sunset on the international dateline on the equinox, shabbos has not yet ended in the eastern hemisphere, and has just started in the west. Depending on your opinion of tzeis hakochavim, there could be as much as an hour when it is shabbos in the whole world. – Jeremy Dec 13 '10 at 15:05

Similar to very common shailos where inviting a secular Jew to spend the Sabbath at your home may engender his violating various prohibitions. It is possible that even though this site operates on Shabbos, it is still OK for it to be available for secular Jews to use to draw closer to religion. A matter for a posek that is well-versed in kiruv-vs-sabbath shailos.

I heard from a Bal Teshuva that if a Jew expresses any interest in Judaism, it is a giant leap forward from the general indifference to religion that currently prevails.

  • The difference, though, is that your inviting him to your house in itself doesn't cause chillul Shabbos (assuming he arrives before sunset); the problem is just that he may violate Shabbos afterwards by leaving in his car or whatever. Here, entering this website is itself chillul Shabbos. – Alex Dec 18 '10 at 20:04
  • A posek would know whether the distinction you note is material. The core of the question is whether we encourage the prohibited activity as the lesser of two evils. Meaning, if I didn't invite him for Shabbat, he'd just go to the ball game. Similarly, if there weren't kosher websites operating on Shabbat, he'd just surf secular sites. In other words, no additional Shabbat desecration in sum total will be caused, and the kiruv benefit will be netted. – Barry Dec 20 '10 at 20:13
  • In addition, there's a known rule that to save another from a life of sin, it is permitted to transgress a smaller sin. See Shulchan Aruch (OC 306 14) where one is permitted to transgress Techum Shabbat to save a person from a forced conversion. – Barry Dec 22 '10 at 18:53
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    @Alex, For someone who is not completely orthodox, it doesn't matter. Every mitzvah is still a mitzvah. Why do you think Chabad try to get Jews to put on tefillin just once in their lives? That doesn't make sense unless you understand that even a single mitzvah can be important. – Adam Mosheh Feb 2 '12 at 6:47
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    @Adam, of course every single mitzvah is important. But not at the cost of a single sin. (There is no difference in this regard between someone who is "completely orthodox" or not; neither one is supposed to be, for example, driving on Shabbos.) – Alex Feb 2 '12 at 16:12

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