Thursday, August 26, 2010

News from the frum world
(What is the fish doing in what looks like a picture from a physics book, you ask? I honestly have no idea.)

A repost in response to Frum Satire’s post.

A certain news portal (and a blog) reports regarding a recent development in the halachic view of Shabbos elevators (translation and comments mine):
For decades, religious denizens of Israel and the rest of the Jewish world [meaning, I guess, planet Earth minus Alabama] used special elevators on Shabbos that stopped by themselves on every floor. It was considered to be not a violation of Shabbos, because one did not have to press a button. Now, however, certain halachic authorities declared that last they heard, nobody canceled the force of gravitation [sic]; as a result, when a person enters an elevator, the load increases, and with it, required electrical energy to keep the elevator up — which is equivalent to work [it’s not clear if “work” here means work from physics point of view or a malacha].
I guess Chabad fanatics are not so stupid after all, huh?

Speaking of elevators, some grizzly stuff (warning: disturbing descriptions).

The blogger mentioned above asks the following: One time he saw a frum guy who came with a carriage with a child inside to an elevator. The Shabbos elevator was broken, and since he obviously could not use the regular elevator, he started walking to G-d knows what floor, with the heavy carriage (having a sleeping child inside) in his arms.

Seemingly, it’s poshut, right? Heavy work is not a melacha. Pressing a button is.

The problem is that heavy work is forbidden on Shabbos d’rabbanim, since it goes against the concept of shvut on Shabbos. On the other hand, there is a teshuva from Rav Eliyashiv, in which he examines the electricity and all the reasons brought to show that its use is ossur on Shabbos and concludes that all the reasons do not really apply to electricity. On the other hand, he says, Jews have been refraining from using electricity on Shabbos for 120 years (by that point of time), so it’s a minhog Yisroel and therefore should be kept.

So, ordinarily, yes, one should still not use electricity on Shabbos, even al pi Rab Eliyashiv. But consider the case above: something which is ossur d’rabbanim (carrying a load) vs. something which is most likely a minhog (not pressing a button). It’s not so poshut what’s worse in this case.

It would seem to me that the answer is to leave the carriage downstairs and carry the child alone to the apartment and ask Eibeshter to make sure that the carriage is not stolen. Or, better yet, become a Lubavitcher and not use an eiruv, in which case, the carriage on Shabbos is useless.

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