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Old 11-07-2019, 06:02 PM
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Grocery store electric scooters for Shabbat


Amigo, the company that makes most of those motorized scooters with baskets for Walmart and other stores has two recent innovations. Yeah, I use them as the old knees won't make it around the store anymore. In fact I love them. Everybody should have one!

#1: The new models have collision avoidance systems that stop the cart if obstacles are near. Alas, this clever sounding option nearly cripples the carts. The standard aisles in stores are narrow enough that you can barely get around a corner without the cart stopping as it senses the opposing corner.

Drive past a free standing display in an aisle - stop. Don't ever pull down a dead end aisle although it will allow you to creep backwards. I was turning a corner the other day when an approaching guy stops just past the corner. Stop. He beckons me to move forward and I explain, "I can't!"

I need to talk to the manager to see if they are adjustable.

#2. Their personal electric carts are now available as Kosher (?) Here is the statement from the Amigo website:

"The Shabbat Controller: Orthodox Jewish Law states that one cannot perform work on the Shabbat. This also is to include the use of electricity. The use of electricity is prohibited because it serves the same function as fire or some of the other prohibitions, or because it is technically considered to be "fire". The partnership of the Zomet Institute and Amigo Mobility now enables the handicapped to be able go to the Synagogue on the Shabbat. Each Shabbat Amigo is inspected by a representative of the Zomet Institute, labeled and shipped out certified by Zomet. "

But it does not explain how it is considered Shabbat. What do they do, just bless the damn thing and declare it OK? Do they run on compressed air? Doesn't sound like it would fly with Walter Sobchak.

Dennis
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Old 11-07-2019, 06:47 PM
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"When you put the Amigo in to Shabbat mode, it connects to a separate circuit board (this is the Shabbat module). The Shabbat Module has a timing circuit that takes about 7 to 11 seconds and then makes the Amigo start moving on its own very slowly: there is no throttle lever activation required by the rider. This is considered an "indirect action". When the driver is in Shabbat mode he/she can pull the lever to go faster. Because the motor relay circuit was changed by the Shabbat module, increasing or decreasing voltage to the motor by the throttle lever to make it go faster or slower is not considered a violation of the Shabbat principle. The Shabbat scooter module is used for turning the scooter on or off and for changing direction. If the user wants to go in reverse, they push a directional button, which causes the Shabbat scooter to go through its timing cycle again before it automatically changes the motor relay."

-Mike LaBrake, Amigo Mobility International
Read more about Shabbat Controlled Scooter
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Old 11-07-2019, 06:53 PM
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Sounds like a substantial amount of rules lawyering to determine that a square is, in fact, a circle.
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Old 11-07-2019, 08:35 PM
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And here I was thinking it was like elevators in Shabbat mode that stop at every floor so you just step in when the doors open - the grocery store scooters could just roll up and down each aisle like Doombuggies at the Haunted Mansion, but slowly enough that you can reach out and grab stuff from the shelves.

There has been a lot of rules lawyering related to Shabbat over the years, and interesting constructs like the "magic schlepping circle" or eruv, that converts the neighborhood into a private domain that allows one to leave home on Shabbat and be able to take their house keys or reading glasses.
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Old 11-07-2019, 08:46 PM
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There has been a lot of rules lawyering related to Shabbat over the years, and interesting constructs like the "magic schlepping circle" or eruv, that converts the neighborhood into a private domain that allows one to leave home on Shabbat and be able to take their house keys or reading glasses.
I was gonna say, they could have saved some engineering complexity by just having the thing extend a wire ring and have it declared an eruv.

Seriously, I try not to dump on religion too much, but this is one of those things where I can't help going
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Old 11-08-2019, 05:57 AM
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Wait, wait - I thought carrying money was forbidden on the Sabbath? So how could one go shopping...? And no carrying stuff, either, so how can you get those groceries home...?

Seems to be you'll have to rules-lawyer more than just the electric cart.

Or is the intent for, say, put-putting down to the synagogue and back and not shopping?

Also, I must protest - the OP was not posted after sundown on Friday, and therefore is not in compliance with long-standing custom on this forum of posting questions about Jewish practice on the Jewish sabbath leading to 24 hours of gentile speculation before actual answers could be obtained.
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Old 11-08-2019, 06:17 AM
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Wait, wait - I thought carrying money was forbidden on the Sabbath? So how could one go shopping...? And no carrying stuff, either, so how can you get those groceries home...?



Seems to be you'll have to rules-lawyer more than just the electric cart.



Or is the intent for, say, put-putting down to the synagogue and back and not shopping?
Yes, clearly it's not meant for going to the mall.

Quote:

Also, I must protest - the OP was not posted after sundown on Friday, and therefore is not in compliance with long-standing custom on this forum of posting questions about Jewish practice on the Jewish sabbath leading to 24 hours of gentile speculation before actual answers could be obtained.
It's possible that the barrage of ridicule is equally effective at deterring Sabbath-observant Jews from participating in this thread.
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Old 11-08-2019, 08:48 AM
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...

It's possible that the barrage of ridicule is equally effective at deterring Sabbath-observant Jews from participating in this thread.
I note you didn't say the ridicule was unwarranted!
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Old 11-08-2019, 08:52 AM
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I mean, also even a lot of more traditional Judaism (outside outright Orthodoxy maybe in some cases) is very pragmatic and has a Rule 0 that basically states "if you literally need this to live/survive then go ahead". I feel like scooters for the disabled fall under this but some people want the "kosher" ones to feel like they're not compromising or can't "properly" observe their religion because of circumstance.

Last edited by Jragon; 11-08-2019 at 08:53 AM.
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Old 11-08-2019, 09:09 AM
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Sounds like a substantial amount of rules lawyering to determine that a square is, in fact, a circle.
Welcome to Judaism, the birthplace of rules lawyering.
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Old 11-08-2019, 12:08 PM
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At least according to some opinion (remember: two Jews, three opinions) the rule banning the use of electricity is the result of the fact that when you close (or open) a circuit, there will be a momentary spark and that is considered a fire. So if you could figure a way to close or open a circuit without making a spark, you are good. It sounds like they may have done that.

As for eruvim, my daughter lives in Brooklyn and I noticed a very high wire along Flatbush Ave. and inferred it was an eruv. When I asked my orthodox friend about it he told me that it was an eruv and that there was an organization putting them up in Brooklyn and another one tearing them down (because you cannot fool god).

When my DIL, who is not Jewish, was working in a Jewish hospital, the first time she experienced a shabbos elevator she was really astonished until someone explained it to her.

My last story involves something someone told me when I first came to Montreal. If you know the city you know that the Jewish ghetto was a couple miles up Park Ave from the McGill campus. Once upon a time McGill had Saturday classes. So the Jewish students had a choice. They could walk both ways (not impossible, but unpleasant in the middle of winter) or figure how to use the Park Ave bus. Here is what they did. They would wait at a stop where other people were waiting (they would not be having the bus stop just for them) and get on. They would have bus tickets previously torn off the strip and use them. Are they money? That's an opinion. Spending money is forbidden, but they aren't money exactly are they. Tearing a ticket off a strip is work and that is forbidden. Attending classes is perfectly kosher on the other hand. That is not work; that is pleasure. I'll go along with that.

Ah well, it keeps them off the street.
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Old 11-08-2019, 12:48 PM
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Can you use a credit card on the Sabbath? You wouldn't actually be spending the money until you paid the credit card bill.

Regards,
Shodan
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Old 11-08-2019, 01:44 PM
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Can you use a credit card on the Sabbath? You wouldn't actually be spending the money until you paid the credit card bill.
I've never seen any Rabbi that would allow that interpretation.
  #14  
Old 11-08-2019, 02:49 PM
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Sorry, electrical carts roll on wheels and I don't roll on Shabbos...

....

Well, somebody had to say it....

....

I'll get me hat.

SPOILER:

Last edited by engineer_comp_geek; 11-09-2019 at 05:38 PM. Reason: added spoiler tags for NSFW link
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Old 11-08-2019, 05:31 PM
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Sometimes I read stuff here and realize I have NO IDEA what is being discussed. And its not even the beer.
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Old 11-08-2019, 06:09 PM
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Can you use a credit card on the Sabbath? You wouldn't actually be spending the money until you paid the credit card bill.
This is not true... you're spending money, it's just someone else's money.
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Old 11-08-2019, 06:16 PM
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Sometimes I read stuff here and realize I have NO IDEA what is being discussed. And its not even the beer.
There's this religion, called Judaism. It's based on something called "the Bibble", and is a religion. Being a religion, it has rules In this case, LOTS of rules, and I gather that many of them are of the startlingly inconvenient variety.

Differing wildly from the average Christian, the Jews appear to actually think that they need to obey these rules as though there was some sort of god watching. However some of the rules are, as noted, startlingly inconvenient, so, being human, some of the practitioners try to find ways to make their lives not suck as much while still not technically breaking those startlingly inconvenient rules.

That's what's going on here. Apparently things like operating electrical equipment are illegal (despite electrical equipment definitely not existing when the rules were written), so tricks are being used to avoid running up against that startlingly inconvenient rule when it comes to these scooters.
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Old 11-08-2019, 06:19 PM
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This is not true... you're spending money, it's just someone else's money.
No, you're politely asking somebody else to spend their own money on your behalf. There is an understanding that you'll pay them back later, but neither the agreement nor the payback are happening at proscribed times.

I dunno if asking somebody else to buy you something breaks the rules, mind you. I'm in the peanut gallery here.
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Old 11-08-2019, 06:30 PM
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Our family may have been Jewish back eight generations in Switzerland. No one's sure what happened, or how they showed up without a religion in the New World, but my guess is someone said "Okay, enough's enough. All this rule-mongering is getting ridiculous. We're Swiss, and not only is this "fooling G_D", it's worse... it's inefficient!"

Thanks, Greatx8Grandpa Fridolin, now I can scooter into shoppers' ankles whenever I want!
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Old 11-08-2019, 09:58 PM
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Thanks, begbert2.

This is a lot like tuning Weber DCOE 40's.

(I don't understand that either, but I fake it)
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Old 11-08-2019, 10:40 PM
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Welcome to Judaism, the birthplace of rules lawyering.
I mean this with all respect, but isn't "rules lawyering" considered to be a feature of Judaism and not a bug? I had it explained to me once that, since no one can completely understand the mind of G*d, we should continue to examine, discuss, and even argue to get closer to the true meaning of the words.

At least that's what I understood the idea was. Not being Jewish, I'm sure there's a lot of cultural context that flew right past me.
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Old 11-08-2019, 10:55 PM
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I mean this with all respect, but isn't "rules lawyering" considered to be a feature of Judaism and not a bug?
Essentially, yes. Figuring out precisely what the laws mean, and how to interpret them correctly brings one closer to G-d. People who worry about "rules lawyering" are missing the point of the exercise.
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Old 11-09-2019, 07:05 AM
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I mean this with all respect, but isn't "rules lawyering" considered to be a feature of Judaism and not a bug? I had it explained to me once that, since no one can completely understand the mind of G*d, we should continue to examine, discuss, and even argue to get closer to the true meaning of the words.
It absolutely is, but not because of a lack of understanding. There are many stories which feature people arguing with God and winning.

The Jewish relationship with God is contractual in nature, and God is a signatory as much as he is a deity. There's one story where a bunch of rabbis are arguing about some specific matter of law. One rabbi performs of miracles to prove the righteousness of his point, until God himself finally gets frustrated and shouts from the heavens: "oy, will you listen to him already? He's right!"

At this point another rabbi basically tells God to mind his own business because the Torah (the contract) is no longer in heaven, and therefore God (as a heavenly creature and not an earthly one) doesn't have standing to just declare the winner of the debate like that. And God laughs! He admits defeat and he's happy to have been defeated.

I think that story is the genesis (heh) of my favorite joke - it basically goes the same way. A group of rabbis always overrules one member, who finally gets frustrated and performs miracles until God booms: "he's right!" The other rabbis sit silently for a moment, then one shrugs and says, "Okay, now it's 4-2."

Last edited by Johnny Bravo; 11-09-2019 at 07:06 AM.
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Old 11-09-2019, 07:22 AM
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At least according to some opinion (remember: two Jews, three opinions) the rule banning the use of electricity is the result of the fact that when you close (or open) a circuit, there will be a momentary spark and that is considered a fire. So if you could figure a way to close or open a circuit without making a spark, you are good. It sounds like they may have done that.
....
That's not what it seems to do. It takes the spark part and isolated it from the user making it. Again lawyering. Sit down is allowed, then the cart starts moving on it's own. Throttle up (throttle down is always allowed according to the link) doesn't do the conventional thing but the sabbith module then will send the voltage to the motor, not the user. Turning apparently also has some special mode.
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Old 11-09-2019, 10:27 AM
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When my DIL, who is not Jewish, was working in a Jewish hospital, the first time she experienced a shabbos elevator she was really astonished until someone explained it to her.
This is actually something I still don't completely understand. Not the the shabbos elevator itself , but having them in hospitals. Every hospital I've seen one in was located in such a way that there would be few visitors walking to the hospital and I assume that people observant enough to need Sabbath elevators would not be willing to travel to the hospital by car or bus.
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Old 11-09-2019, 10:44 AM
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Thanks, begbert2.

This is a lot like tuning Weber DCOE 40's.

(I don't understand that either, but I fake it)

Take out your nice compartmented box of chokes, emulsion tubes , fuel jets and air jets and pray for guidance.

Dennis
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Old 11-09-2019, 12:29 PM
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This is actually something I still don't completely understand. Not the the shabbos elevator itself , but having them in hospitals. Every hospital I've seen one in was located in such a way that there would be few visitors walking to the hospital and I assume that people observant enough to need Sabbath elevators would not be willing to travel to the hospital by car or bus.
I'm not practicing and not up on details of the rules in any specific branch of Judaism, but I can think of at least three reasons why the situation might come up:

They might have arrived before sunset and intend to stay the entire 24 hours in the hospital, but might still want to travel between different floors in the hospital during that time.

Or they might have travelled on the Sabbath because they were considering it as an emergency exception (general understanding is that any rule can be broken in order to save a life and this may well be extended to any significant health issues), but might not want to keep breaking the rules any more than the minimum necessary.

Or they might have walked further than you expect people to walk to hospitals. What's considered "walking distance" varies greatly; though admittedly many cities are set up so as to make walking difficult.
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Old 11-09-2019, 04:00 PM
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No, you're politely asking somebody else to spend their own money on your behalf. There is an understanding that you'll pay them back later, but neither the agreement nor the payback are happening at proscribed times.

I dunno if asking somebody else to buy you something breaks the rules, mind you. I'm in the peanut gallery here.
I dated a guy who kept mostly kosher - he was willing to date a non-Jewish woman, but kept dietarily kosher. I was also sort of a neighborhood shabbos goy - if someone needed groceries - like they had forgotten to pick up eggs or the milk soured and they needed replacement, someone might show up and casually converse like 'Well, I was originally going to make kugel, but I found out the milk went off [or someone had not replaced the eggs they used, whatever] which is just sort of conversationally hinting that it would be lovely if someone were to go to the store to pick up something ... without outright asking. We might have to discuss and 'compare recipes' to figure out exactly what they needed and how much =) but the money would end up being paid back the next day. I found i amusing, but whatever gets one through their weekend =)

I do know that if someone maliciously gives a Jew a filch of bacon and eating it would mean the difference between living and dying, in general it is OK to go ahead and eat whatever. I do know that I am not religious enough to martyr myself by starving myself [or refusing to toss incense on an offering alter for some random Roman god, or refusing to step on a bible/crucifix] I figure as long as I am alive, I can repent and atone, but if I am dead that is all she wrote.
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Old 11-09-2019, 04:27 PM
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Rule #1 is that you can break any rule to save a life. An Israeli told me about the Cheder (religious school) boys who would go an ambulance to a hospital to give blood on Shabbos (or Shabbat, if you insist) but then could not go home until sundown because going home was not an emergency.
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Old 11-09-2019, 04:42 PM
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Perhaps Jewish patients are using the elevators.
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