CEO of Hatzoloh of Rockland, Rabbi Yosef Chaim Golding Speaks About the New Shabbos Guidebook for Hospital Patients

By M. C. Millman 

Rockland Daily: What inspired the creation of the Hilchos Shabbos and Yom Tov guidebook?

Rabbi Golding: Unfortunately, many of our fellow Rockland residents find themselves in a hospital setting on Shabbos and Yom Tov and are faced with a multitude of shailos in regards to shmiras Shabbos and Yom Tov. As a result, Hatzoloh of Rockland released a 16-page booklet in English and Yiddish, to be handed to every patient or family member when transported to a hospital on Shabbos or Yom Tov. 

The actual story that impelled me to get this published was when a person I know was recently transported by Hatzoloh to Westchester Medical Center on Erev Shabbos, was subsequently released late Friday night, and had no idea of what to do in regard to how, and if, they could return home. I did some research and found that there once was a booklet with such guidelines, but it was out of print for many years. I contacted the original author, Harav Yecheskel Weisz shlita, and, together, we worked on its reissue with updates and additions.

Rockland Daily: So you just pass the patient the booklet when they are taken to the hospital, or is it available only in the Bikur Cholim or Chesed 24/7 rooms? 

Rabbi Golding: Actually, we have a donor who wanted to ensure every person taken to the hospital by Hatzoloh over Shabbos or Yom Tov gets what we call our Shabbos Peklach, a bag with rolls, grape juice, and a few other essentials, and we added the guidebook to this package.

Rockland Daily: Whose shita did you follow as far as the halachos in the brochure?  

Rabbi Golding: We wanted to write it so that it would be acceptable to everyone in the Rockland County area; hence the halachos were reviewed and approved by the Belzer Dayan of Monsey, Harav Bezalel Tuvia Wettenstein shlita.

Rockland Daily: What are some of the topics covered?  

Rabbi Golding: We cover elevators, electric eyes and automatic doors, eruvei t’chumin, critical phone numbers, returning home on Shabbos, the definition of a choleh not in danger of losing one’s life, riding with the choleh, carrying items on Shabbos for the choleh, and other helpful information. The brochure is printed in both English and Yiddish, and is short and succinct, as appropriate for such a setting.  

Rockland Daily: Do you plan on distributing this to other Hatzalah organizations?   

Rabbi Golding: We have already shared it online with Central Hatzalah – in the city, as well as with Lakewood Hatzolah. I told them I hope you will adapt and adopt it. We shared the text in Yiddish and English without charge, and they can edit as much as they want. The main thing is that Klal Yisroel should benefit from the endeavor.  

Rockland Daily: Is the pamphlet available for anyone to learn from – even without a hospital stay? 

Rabbi Golding:  Yes, the booklet can be downloaded directly from the Hatzoloh website: by clicking on “resources”. Hard copies can also be picked up from Hatzoloh’s central headquarters at 19 Grove Street in Monsey.

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