“Shabbat Hayom!” becomes sickening computer game

screenshot of Shabbat Hayom video gameAn Israeli developer has released a new video game which depicts chareidim as violent. In the ‘Shabbat Hayom’ video game, chareidim punch non-religious Jews without provocation.

Many of you will have seen the now viral video of a misguided (OK stupid) young chareidi man protesting the opening of a shopping mall in Ashdod (Israel) on Shabbat by yelling “Shabbat Hayom” (It’s Shabbat today!), in a monotone, about 40 times in rapid succession.

It’s a non-violent – pointless – protest, that is certainly not going to enhance anyone’s opinion of what Shabbat can be. It’s sad to see the words “Shabbat Hayom”, which to so many religious people denote peace and harmony and recall several beautiful Shabbat table songs, being used in this way.

But then it was turned into an Israeli video game… 

For those who haven’t yet, you can see the original “Shabbat Hayom” encounter here:

That video was a huge Chillul Hashem (desecration of God’s name), but things have now escalated by the incorporating of the now iconic recording into a video game depicting gratuitous violence by chareidim. See the video here:

People in the know say this game is actually a “mod” (moderated version) of a pre-existing anarchistic game where the subjects are not Jewish at all.

And it seems to be quite popular…

Popular game

Without in anyway condoning the actions of Mr “Shabbat Hayom”, in my opinion this game is far more of an incitement to violence against chareidim than his protest was an incitement to violence against Shabbat desecrators. The guy was totally idiotic but not in any way violent. Yet the chareidi guy – and all chareidim – Shabbat itself – will now be associated in many people’s mind with the violence in this game.

So are all religious Jews responsible? Are all chareidim responsible? (Of course not.) Should/Could we be doing something differently? Is it “not our problem”?

A Finial Word:
Frankly I dunno the answer, but somehow hearing the words “Shabbat Hayom” in the video and video game really got to me. So today I looked up music for a little known pizmon I was aware of but had never seen a tune for: “Shabbat Hayom”, made two recordings, uploaded them to my table-singing site, and hope to introduce them at our Shabbat table in the coming few weeks:


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