American Pharoah and Jewish Law

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The JT’s June 5 editorial “The Crowning Glory of American Pharoah” describes owner Ahmed Zayat as “… deeply religious, observing Shabbat even on the days his horses race – he apparently stays with family and friends in hotels near race venues, arranges catered kosher Shabbat meals and walks to the races – is a testament to the fact that in today’s world, religious conviction needn’t stand in the way of accomplishment.” Really? The Fourth Commandment stipulates that one’s livestock, as well as one’s family, is to rest on the Sabbath. (All Triple Crown races are run on a Saturday.) Moreover, according to the Shulchan Aruch, any profits made on Saturday must be ceded to a non-Jew — at least, this is the convention observed in contracts between Jews and non-Jews in the matter of the ownership of property and usufruct. Therefore, the lavish Triple Crown purses, halachically, can/should pass to a gentile.

—Rachmiel Gottlieb, Pikesville


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