HuffPost claims that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner got a “Shabbat Pass” from some unnamed rabbi so they could drive to the various inaugural events happening for President Trump over Shabbat. The rationale for the pass was the Jewish principle of pikuach nefesh that states that Shabbat laws can be broken to save a life. Since the couple’s lives might be in danger if they walked from event to event, they were allowed to drive.
Nonsense. Pikuach nefesh only applies if death or the threat of death is certain. If there is doubt regarding their safety, that is, if they could walk without being killed, they cannot drive. Walking in the company of her father’s private security force (not the Secret Service) would insure their safety. Even if their lives were in danger, pikuach nefesh still doesn’t apply. They could simply stay home and observe the Sabbath and avoid the danger.
And then there is still the matter of kashrut. Did either of them eat or drink at the various inaugural balls they attended? The alcohol and food was treif (nonkosher), and eating or drinking would have been forbidden to them.
Look, it is very difficult to be a practicing Orthodox Jew and still function as they must in Gentile society. And I don’t begrudge them going to the parties; after all this may be the last inaugural they are involved in (either because President Trump loses to Elizabeth Warren in 2020 or because President Trump outlaws all further presidential elections), but I do find it annoying that they pretend Orthodox Judaism can be manipulated to suit their whims. It can’t.
If they want a more flexible Judaism they should become Reform Jews. That’s what I did. Then they could have their Shabbos and their limousines as well.