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Old 07-18-2019, 01:37 PM
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Ways Around Jewish Sabbath Restrictions


Earlier today I was thinking about "Sabbath elevators" that, from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, constantly move up and down, stopping at every floor so that observant Jews don't have to use the stairs. That got me thinking about others ways to circumvent the "don't operate machines" rule. I'm not concerned with the practicality of any of these ideas, just curious as to weather or not they're kosher, so to speak.*

Option 1: Hire a non-Jewish elevator attendant. Tell them what floor you want to go to and they'll press the button for you.

Option 2: Carry some kind of RFID-type chip that the elevator can read that tells the elevator what level your apartment/whatever is on.

Option 3: Artificial intelligence (now you see why I'm not concerned with practicality ). Elevators have an AI that can recognize residents/frequent visitors and automatically bring them to floor they live on/frequently visit.


*Side question: is keeping the Sabbath part of keeping kosher or something else entirely?
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Old 07-18-2019, 01:43 PM
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Kosher is strictly the dietary laws.

For the others, it might depend on whether it's just the people using the building who are Jewish, or the owners as well: I don't think it's allowed for a Jew to hire a Gentile to do work on the Sabbath.

And as for artificial intelligence, I'll just note that in the golem legends, the golem got the Sabbath off, too.
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Old 07-18-2019, 01:59 PM
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Some kitchen appliances, such as ovens and refrigerators, have been sold with special "Sabbath mode" settings, in order to comply with rules against doing work on the Sabbath.
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Old 07-18-2019, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Regallag_The_Axe View Post
Option 1: Hire a non-Jewish elevator attendant. Tell them what floor you want to go to and they'll press the button for you.
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I don't think it's allowed for a Jew to hire a Gentile to do work on the Sabbath.
The Shabbos/Shabbat Goy, a Gentile hired to do work on the Sabbath, it a longstanding tradition. However, according to some opinions it would not be legitimate to hire one to operate and elevator, and even Shabbat Elevators amy not be permitted.
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Old 07-18-2019, 02:26 PM
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I don't think it's allowed for a Jew to hire a Gentile to do work on the Sabbath.
There's some disagreement on that. Most authorities agree it's not allowed; but in some communities it's common and accepted.

Here's an example.

-- whoops, Colibri's at least partly ahead of me.
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Old 07-18-2019, 02:56 PM
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Richard Feynman in Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman describes his experience with a gentile elevator operator at a rabbinical college. He tried to debate the students about the propriety of such and thing but soon found he was in over his head.

The RFID thing would be a no-go for this guy. He's against automatic doors on Shabbat. (One exception: if a gentile triggers a door then it's okay to follow.)

Any sort of sensor, AI or not, is against the rules for him. YRMMV.*

Chronos wrote:
Quote:
And as for artificial intelligence, I'll just note that in the golem legends, the golem got the Sabbath off, too.
But that was a Jewish-made golem, right? What about a gentile-made one? What if 300 people were involved in Project Golem and 27 of them were Jewish? What if the Jewish workers only did the IR sensors, could it still operate on Shabbat with the IR sensor turned off? (I think I better stop now ... .)

* Your rabbi's mileage might vary.
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Old 07-18-2019, 03:05 PM
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There's some disagreement on that.
In Judaism, there's some disagreement on everything.
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Old 07-18-2019, 03:07 PM
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This is something I have wondered about- is there literally a published list of what is considered "work"? In general I see climbing stairs a pain in the ass, but not work? There are no people who get paid to climb stairs? I assume the definition of work here is not the same? Thanks!
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Old 07-18-2019, 03:11 PM
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The Sabbeth Goy has already been mentioned, but another concept worth mentioning is the notion of what work is under Jewish law. For example, one is not to kindle a fire (hence the prohibition against lighting a fire on the Sabbath). However, one is also not to extinguish a fire either (although a candle burning down on its own and going out is OK - and Sabbath candles are lit before the moment of sunset). Why? I dunno. It's tradition! (cue fiddle music from nearby roof).

So you can't start a fire, but if a fire is already burning you can't put it out (with the exception that if the fire is life-threatening PLEASE put it out regardless of whether it's the Sabbath or not). Electricity and electrically operated things are regarded, by a process of logic that may or may not make sense to gentiles, as a sort of "fire". Thus, you can turn on an electric light (because that's starting a "fire") but neither can you turn one out (because that is putting one out). BUT - if you have your electric light on a timer to turn itself off, well, under (some peoples') rules that's OK because you are not acting on the Sabbath to "put out the fire". And this is where we get Sabbath elevators - you can't summon an elevator (because that's "starting a fire") but if the elevator is programmed to go floor-to-floor on it's own, well, you're just along for the ride.

Rinse and repeat for pretty much anything electrical. Or utilizing fire. I've been Sabbat Goy on occasion, usually turning a stove off when the Sabbath meal is done cooking. This actually requires both understanding of at least the basics of the rules on the part of the Goy, and trust on the part of the Jew, because (in the example of the food in the oven) the Jew can not directly say "turn off the stove" because that would be initiating a string of events affecting the kindling/extinguishing of the fire.

However, preserving and sustaining life takes precedence over the Sabbath work rules, so if you have someone in your household dependent on some sort of electrical equipment in order to live (a respirator, perhaps) then turning it on/off or whatever might need to be done would be OK.

(If I have erred in any of this I'm sure one of our more studied Jewish members will correct me.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Regallag_The_Axe View Post
Option 1: Hire a non-Jewish elevator attendant. Tell them what floor you want to go to and they'll press the button for you.
Essentially, you're talking about a Sabbat Goy here - except a Jewish person is not to directly initiate such a thing. So... not allowed. If, however, a gentile just happens to always be in the elevator on the Sabbath and pushes the button for your floor without being asked that would be allowed. But you can not hire a gentile to just hang out in the elevator, because, again, that would mean a Jewish person is the initiating cause of "lighting a fire".

Quote:
Option 2: Carry some kind of RFID-type chip that the elevator can read that tells the elevator what level your apartment/whatever is on.
Honestly, I'm not sure if that would be allowed or not. Good question, and I'm interested in the answer, too, so thank you for not asking that on Friday evening so we might get an answer before Saturday evening.

Quote:
Option 3: Artificial intelligence (now you see why I'm not concerned with practicality ). Elevators have an AI that can recognize residents/frequent visitors and automatically bring them to floor they live on/frequently visit.
That sounds like a mechanical Shabbet Goy to me, which might be allowed. It might also be defined as a golem, an artificially created servant which has a long history in Judaism. Whether or not a golem is permitted to operate on the Sabbath is, apparently, questionable - there are versions of the tale of the Golem of Prague that has the creating rabbi deactivate the golem before sundown on Friday to preserve the Sabbath, for example. But it seems to me that a golem is pretty much NOT a Jewish person so ... we're back to Sabbath Goy. Or a Sabbath Elevator.

My guess is that at least some Jewish groups would be OK with this and some would be opposed, but heck, you can say that about a lot of stuff. That's why there are so many different Jewish groups in the world today.

Quote:
*Side question: is keeping the Sabbath part of keeping kosher or something else entirely?
Keeping Sabbath and keeping kosher are, if you will, "sister obligations" - neither is a subset of the other, they are both part of keeping the halakhah, which can be translated as "Jewish law" or "how to behave yourself".
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Old 07-18-2019, 03:15 PM
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This is something I have wondered about- is there literally a published list of what is considered "work"? In general I see climbing stairs a pain in the ass, but not work? There are no people who get paid to climb stairs? I assume the definition of work here is not the same? Thanks!
There are 39 categories of activities prohibited on the Sabbath. I believe the prohibition against turning on a light or operating electrical devices such as elevators is based on the prohibition on lighting a fire, since an electrical spark is considered a form of fire.
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Old 07-18-2019, 03:17 PM
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There is the Kosher light switch.

Of course, maybe you can still use stuff if you are within a trick wire?

Personally, if I were Jewish I'd worry that God viewed these tricks the same way that the gods of Discworld view Pascal's Wager.

Last edited by Darren Garrison; 07-18-2019 at 03:18 PM. Reason: Stupid auto-added line breaks.
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Old 07-18-2019, 03:17 PM
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There are 39 categories of activities prohibited on the Sabbath. I believe the prohibition against turning on a light or operating electrical devices such as elevators is based on the prohibition on lighting a fire, since an electrical spark is considered a form of fire.
Thanks!
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Old 07-18-2019, 03:19 PM
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This is something I have wondered about- is there literally a published list of what is considered "work"? In general I see climbing stairs a pain in the ass, but not work? There are no people who get paid to climb stairs? I assume the definition of work here is not the same? Thanks!
Oof.

OK, remember that these rules were initially laid down in the Bronze Age, literally before iron tools and weapons were a thing. This was all pretty straightforward back then but we live in a very, very, very different world.

Also, though the English word used is "work" that's actually not a great translation - this link goes into more detail about Sabbath prohibitions. As noted, better translations would be "deliberate action" or "creative activity". You can read your diary, but you can't make a diary entry. You can eat food, but you can not harvest, or butcher, or cook food.

So... probably best to remind yourself frequently that the term "work" in this context is a translation from another language (and another time!) and not necessarily what we in the 21st century would normally call "work".

ETA: and... ninja'd!

Last edited by Broomstick; 07-18-2019 at 03:20 PM.
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Old 07-18-2019, 03:20 PM
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*Side question: is keeping the Sabbath part of keeping kosher or something else entirely?
Keeping Kosher is different from the restriction against work on the Sabbath. The latter is part of what strictly Orthodox Jews conform to. That said, I can't imagine someone who would conform to the working on the Sabbath restrictions and NOT also keep Kosher.

When I was in college, a friend who lived down the hall was an Orthodox Jew. Every Friday evening, he would stop at my dorm room (I don't remember if he was allowed to knock on the door, or maybe he just yelled from outside). I would then accompany him down the hall, open his door for him and turn on the lights and close the door once he went inside. I presume he slept with the lights on.

I don't know what would happen if he needed to go out of his room for any reason, such as going to the toilet, before the Sabbath was over.
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Old 07-18-2019, 03:35 PM
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I'm not sure what the exact rule is/was regarding toilet use and doors on the Sabbath, but when my dad was a wee lad growing up in an Orthodox household one of his Friday afternoon chores was to tear off lengths of toilet paper and put them in a handy pile before the Sabbath, as in his community (apparently) tearing off a bit of toilet paper with which to wipe one's ass came under "creative act" or something.

But, definitely, YRMMV.
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Old 07-18-2019, 05:26 PM
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Back in the day (before my time) McGill had Saturday classes. To walk from the Jewish ghetto to McGill was something like 2 or 2.5 miles. Not impossible, but not pleasant in mid-winter. So some students would wait at a bus stop, but only if there were other people there so the bus wasn't stopping just for him. The next problem was throwing a ticket into the fare box. This is an awful lot like using money but somehow they rationalized it. But the tickets were sold in strips and you had to tear them beforehand, for reasons alluded to by Broomstick.

Some orthodox have combination locks on their houses because carrying a key (or anything else, actually) is forbidden. Then there are the eruv wars in Brooklyn. An eruv is a kind of mythical enlargement of a house using wires to delineate an area that you can carry something in. There are groups in Brooklyn going round putting up the wires and other groups that take them down because they are an attempt to fool God. To an atheist Jew like me, this is all pretty risible.
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Old 07-18-2019, 05:46 PM
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You know, for a day of rest, keeping the Sabbath sure sounds like hard work.
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Old 07-18-2019, 06:23 PM
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I just want to say: the standards around here have really gone downhill. Apparently nobody cares to follow the rules anymore, specifically "Any and all questions regarding Jewish laws and customs must be posted five minutes after sundown on a Friday".
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Old 07-18-2019, 06:39 PM
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Then there are the eruv wars in Brooklyn. An eruv is a kind of mythical enlargement of a house using wires to delineate an area that you can carry something in. There are groups in Brooklyn going round putting up the wires and other groups that take them down because they are an attempt to fool God. To an atheist Jew like me, this is all pretty risible.
There's a group in West Rogers Park in Chicago (or there was, 25 or 30 years ago when I lived just east of there) that used an eruv on the Sabbath. Which was fine... until they tried to impose a no-auto restriction on the gentiles. Including Touhy Avenue which is a fairly major and pretty busy east-west street in the area. Which was the first most gentiles had ever heard of an eruv, and also at least one Schrodinger Jew's introduction to the concept (me).

Very atypical, that sort of imposing a rule on the gentiles.

Anyhow - they were told they could keep their magic line and their customs, but could not impede traffic flow on any Chicago street.
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Old 07-18-2019, 06:41 PM
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You know, for a day of rest, keeping the Sabbath sure sounds like hard work.
Like I said, all of this got started in the Bronze Age. Stringing up lines for an eruv and/or sitting around arguing about the rules probably was a pretty easy day compared to herding sheep or goats or farming or, on the female side, endlessly grinding grain, prepping food, and otherwise keeping up a household.
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Old 07-18-2019, 06:45 PM
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Thanks for the responses, everyone!

The idea of the Sabbat goy is interesting, I need to check that out further. I realize how much disagreement there is within Judaism, I've heard the joke about the four rabbis with the punchline, "Then it's two against three!" I was looking for general information and mainstream views, and boy, have I found them.
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Old 07-18-2019, 07:09 PM
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There's a group in West Rogers Park in Chicago (or there was, 25 or 30 years ago when I lived just east of there) that used an eruv on the Sabbath. Which was fine... until they tried to impose a no-auto restriction on the gentiles. Including Touhy Avenue which is a fairly major and pretty busy east-west street in the area. Which was the first most gentiles had ever heard of an eruv, and also at least one Schrodinger Jew's introduction to the concept (me).



Very atypical, that sort of imposing a rule on the gentiles.



Anyhow - they were told they could keep their magic line and their customs, but could not impede traffic flow on any Chicago street.
Do you have a cite for that, please? Contemporary news source, for example?
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Old 07-18-2019, 07:31 PM
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I also recall reading about light switches an such that involved moving your hand through a beam of light. You weren't actually touching or moving anything so it was supposedly OK.

NYC seems to have found the same solution as Jerusalem - let the Muslims drive the taxis. I was in Jerusalem on a Saturday and NOTHING was running, not even the streetcars. But the taxis were going. OTOH, come sundown on Saturday and the bars were full and lively.
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Old 07-18-2019, 07:43 PM
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Very atypical, that sort of imposing a rule on the gentiles.
Some, not all, probably not even most, of the Brooklyn Hasidic groups can get fairly insistent about gentiles either respecting their traditions or conforming to their rules, depending on one's point of view.

No, Shmendrik, I don't have a cite for that. I live in Brooklyn, and on occasion I've been one of the gentiles negotiating a peace treaty with one particular Hasidic group over the use of a local public park on Sundays. No cite, because nobody really wants this in the papers, that just seems to escalate things.

This has nothing to do with "ways around Sabbath restrictions," except that this group feels that, since they cannot use one particular feature of the park on Saturdays, they should be given more or less exclusive rights to that feature on Sundays. Everyone else in the neighborhood disagrees.

And there was another little tempest in a teapot, somewhat similar to what Broomstick describes, over bicycle paths in Brooklyn, of all things. Another of the Hasidic sects very much wanted to have a bike route that ran to Coney Island, through their neighborhood, re-routed, because apparently the sight of women in cycling outfits was disturbing. That one went away pretty fast -- I think they ultimately realized that this wasn't winnable, and made them look like idiots.

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Old 07-18-2019, 07:46 PM
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While living in East Lansing, MI, in the late 1980s, I was invited to dinner, on the Sabbath, with some folks who were Orthodox Jews. They told me some of thier kitchen appliances had timers for switching on and off. One could put a dish in the oven before Sabbath, set the oven to turn on and off at a certain time, and have a hot meal. The women especially seemed to think this was a modern convenience that beat most other solutions to working around the rules.
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Old 07-18-2019, 07:53 PM
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Here in NYC, every hospital I've ever been in has a Sabbath elevator running on Saturdays. And all of the appliances in my (new construction, at least as of about 10 years ago) have timers. You can set the dishwasher, or the oven (although not the stovetop) on Friday to turn on at a given time on Saturday.

Very handy.
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Old 07-18-2019, 08:07 PM
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Do you have a cite for that, please? Contemporary news source, for example?
I lived on Touhy avenue at the time and thus had some direct concern about the matter so other than my memory no, not at the moment. And at this remove some of the details are getting a bit hazy. There is an official eruv for that part of the city that you can learn about by googling it, but it's set up in such a way as to not interfere with gentile activity. The dispute - such as it was, it blew up and blew away pretty quickly - was after I was married and before I moved to Indiana so it would be mid-1990's, probably. I have a dim recollection it wasn't the first such eruv to cause some controversy in the Chicago area although I'm not conversant with the details of the other ones. I only knew about the Touhy one because, living on the street, it was very briefly an issue once we drove past Western Avenue when heading away from the Lake on Saturdays. And any Saturday in the neighborhood was very heavy pedestrian traffic regardless because the Jews in that neighborhood did not drive on the Sabbath so it was a lot of people walking to and from the various Jewish community buildings along Touhy Avenue.
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Old 07-18-2019, 08:17 PM
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While living in East Lansing, MI, in the late 1980s, I was invited to dinner, on the Sabbath, with some folks who were Orthodox Jews. They told me some of thier kitchen appliances had timers for switching on and off. One could put a dish in the oven before Sabbath, set the oven to turn on and off at a certain time, and have a hot meal. The women especially seemed to think this was a modern convenience that beat most other solutions to working around the rules.
My dad's family had an extensive, and I do mean extensive, collection of chafing dishes utilizing sterno for hot food on the Sabbath. Seriously, I'm talking "professional catering service" quantities because they needed one set for dairy, one for meat, and one for Passover. Get your hot food fixed before the Sabbath and park it in one of those babies for the next 24 hours and no Sabbath Goy needed. Of course, this did mean the daily argument discussion had to then be about something other than whether or not Sabbath Goys were a permitted thing.

Modern appliance on a timer is probably much less of a fire hazard than chafing dishes and lit sterno.
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Old 07-18-2019, 08:28 PM
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In Judaism, there's some disagreement on everything.
Indeed.

When I read the below:

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But that was a Jewish-made golem, right? What about a gentile-made one? What if 300 people were involved in Project Golem and 27 of them were Jewish? What if the Jewish workers only did the IR sensors, could it still operate on Shabbat with the IR sensor turned off? (I think I better stop now ... .)
my first thought was that somewhere in the world there's a batch of Jewish scholars debating all of the above this very minute. And the discussion will not be a short one.
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Old 07-18-2019, 08:37 PM
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You'd need a pretty big Sterno can to last from sundown Friday until suppertime on Saturday. Most cans only last one or two hours. And, of course, you can't switch them out, because that would require lighting fires.

As for Shabbos goyim, in a lot of cases that's not an employee, but just someone in the neighborhood who (very delicately) negotiated to volunteer for the duty. The negotiations have to be delicate, because the Jewish folk wouldn't be allowed to directly say what would be useful to them.

I've a suspicion that the stereotype of the passive-aggressive Jewish mother stems from this sort of indirect negotiation. "I'll just sit here, in the dark" does not mean "I'd appreciate it if you'd turn on the lights for me", even though the situation where you'd say the former is exactly the situation where the latter is true.
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Old 07-19-2019, 01:15 AM
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Just chiming in to add I have a very high end Miele oven with a Sabbath setting, which is a delayed on off preset timer. I've never felt the need to use it but see how it could also come in handy for a goy.
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Old 07-19-2019, 02:17 AM
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Option 2: Carry some kind of RFID-type chip that the elevator can read that tells the elevator what level your apartment/whatever is on.
In my reading of the Jewish press, the subject of RFID keys came up. They do not seem to be allowed for two reasons.

First, you are carrying something, and that seems to be prohibited. You may not even carry a conventional house key.

Next, such a device on your person would be completing an electrical circuit through your action. That is not allowed.

The folks opposed to the RFID apartment keys insisted only a non-Jewish doorman to keep the building secure was acceptable.
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Old 07-19-2019, 05:59 AM
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Some, not all, probably not even most, of the Brooklyn Hasidic groups can get fairly insistent about gentiles either respecting their traditions or conforming to their rules, depending on one's point of view.

No, Shmendrik, I don't have a cite for that. I live in Brooklyn, and on occasion I've been one of the gentiles negotiating a peace treaty with one particular Hasidic group over the use of a local public park on Sundays. No cite, because nobody really wants this in the papers, that just seems to escalate things.
Sometimes, it makes the papers This article includes a previously segregated public bus route and a desire for libraries to open on Sundays rather than Saturday, this mentions the bike lanes used by "scantily dressed women", and this is about gender segregated hours at public pools.
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Old 07-19-2019, 06:04 AM
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Oof.

OK, remember that these rules were initially laid down in the Bronze Age, literally before iron tools and weapons were a thing.
Slight nitpick, but it's generally accepted that the Laws were "laid down" well into the Iron Age.
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Old 07-19-2019, 06:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
You'd need a pretty big Sterno can to last from sundown Friday until suppertime on Saturday. Most cans only last one or two hours. And, of course, you can't switch them out, because that would require lighting fires.

As for Shabbos goyim, in a lot of cases that's not an employee, but just someone in the neighborhood who (very delicately) negotiated to volunteer for the duty. The negotiations have to be delicate, because the Jewish folk wouldn't be allowed to directly say what would be useful to them.

I've a suspicion that the stereotype of the passive-aggressive Jewish mother stems from this sort of indirect negotiation. "I'll just sit here, in the dark" does not mean "I'd appreciate it if you'd turn on the lights for me", even though the situation where you'd say the former is exactly the situation where the latter is true.
I have a friend that lives in an Orthodox Jewish community. She wasn’t very close with her husband at the time of this story (they are currently separated) and he was seldom at the house. One Friday night, when he was home, the doorbell rings. Hubby answers. It’s a neighbor that they only know in passing. But this almost stranger had a story for her husband. It involved the pilot light on his furnace, which had apparently just gone out. And it was going to be a cold night. Hubby could not figure out why this guy had knocked on their door to tell this story. He’s just standing there, baffled.
My friend comes to the door to see what is going on. She smiles and says “We’d be happy to come over and turn your furnace back on for you”. We’ll be there in 10 minutes. Neighbor leaves, his mission accomplished.

I’ve done some interesting home automation setups for Orthodox clients. One of my favorites included automatically having a bathroom outlet turn on for 10 minutes at 9:30 every Saturday morning. As the client explained. “If my wife happened to leave her hair dryer plugged into that outlet with the switch on, the hair dryer would turn on for 10 minutes at 9:30. And if my wife happens to be in the bathroom at that time, she can pick it up and dry her hair.”

Door jamb switches (that apparatus that automatically turns on a closet light when the door is opened) are generally avoided when designing the electrical for Orthodox homes. Because, then the homeowner can’t open the closet at all without “doing work”. So the standard is a regular switch outside the door. That way they can at least open the closet door without turning on the light.

One time , for an extremely wealthy client, we engineered a set up that used a time clock to disable the door jamb switches. And once, it didn’t work. And these people tried to dump a whole bunch of guilt on me, like I was personally responsible for the destruction of their mortal souls. I just mumbled something under my breath about avarice and owning hedge funds that destroyed the economies of small nations being a far greater sin IMHO.

I had destroyed their souls before anyway. I was working at their house one day, during EXTREMELY inclimate weather. I had brought a yogurt cup for a snack and the house manager for the property told me I couldn’t open it inside the house because it wasn’t certified kosher. I agreed then I went to the furnace room in the basement and ate my yogurt, thereby damning the family to the fires of hell, or something.

Last edited by Ann Hedonia; 07-19-2019 at 06:35 AM.
  #36  
Old 07-19-2019, 07:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Shmendrik View Post
Do you have a cite for that, please? Contemporary news source, for example?
At the time I worked on Touhy in notably Jewish Skokie and I remember that, if that's a form of confirmation.

Can an orthodox Jew make a sandwich on the Sabbath or is opening the jar of peanut butter work?

Last edited by dropzone; 07-19-2019 at 07:28 AM.
  #37  
Old 07-19-2019, 07:30 AM
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So if you are one of those Jews who believes it is permissible to coincidentally benefit on the Sabbath from work initiated by a Gentile, such as getting into an elevator for which they press the button, or following them through an automatic door, then is it permissible to do so when it is a fellow Jew who initiates the work? I can imagine that this situation arises in communities where Orthodox Jews, who strictly observe the Sabbath rules, live alongside Reform Jews, who do not observe all the same rules, or to the same extent. Is using a non- or less-observant Jew as your "Shabbos goy" OK, or is there some other rule that prohibits this? If it's prohibited, then keeping in mind that not all Jews are identifiable as such on sight, how are you supposed to determine whether you can benefit from any given stranger's work? Or is the idea that you should only avail yourself of work by people whom you have personally met and who you know to be gentiles?
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Old 07-19-2019, 08:12 AM
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I work in a store owned by Orthodox Jews, in a town with a large Jewish population. We sell six hour sternos, and I just realized another reason for that--prohibitions against lighting something on Shabbos. All our appliances have a Shabbos mode.

And I have had some people tell me it's nice not to use a computer one day a week. It keeps them from getting totally addicted to it. Ditto their children.
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Old 07-19-2019, 09:52 AM
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A six-hour Sterno still wouldn't be long enough to be useful for Shabbos purposes, though. If you light it just before sunset, then it'll only burn until about midnight. What's the use of a fire that only lasts until midnight? Cooking something for Friday's supper, you just do all of your cooking before sundown, and maybe eat a little bit early. Something you want to eat even for breakfast on Saturday, you'll want to keep hot longer than midnight.
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Old 07-19-2019, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
A six-hour Sterno still wouldn't be long enough to be useful for Shabbos purposes, though. If you light it just before sunset, then it'll only burn until about midnight. What's the use of a fire that only lasts until midnight? Cooking something for Friday's supper, you just do all of your cooking before sundown, and maybe eat a little bit early. Something you want to eat even for breakfast on Saturday, you'll want to keep hot longer than midnight.
Clearly this is why God invented the Instant Pot.
  #41  
Old 07-19-2019, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
A six-hour Sterno still wouldn't be long enough to be useful for Shabbos purposes, though. If you light it just before sunset, then it'll only burn until about midnight. What's the use of a fire that only lasts until midnight? Cooking something for Friday's supper, you just do all of your cooking before sundown, and maybe eat a little bit early. Something you want to eat even for breakfast on Saturday, you'll want to keep hot longer than midnight.
I think that depends on the time of year and the exact location- I visit an in-law in Rochester ,NY every June, and sunset is about 9 pm. Six hours brings you to 3am - and depending on what the food is and what time you want to eat breakfast, that may be good enough.
  #42  
Old 07-19-2019, 10:29 AM
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Serious question:

Do Jews think God is stupid (in which case, why are you worshiping an idiot?), is not paying attention (in which case, why bother following the rules?), or is a lawyer (in which case, they're all going to Hell Gehinnom no matter what )? Do they really think their god can't see through these silly ruses?

.

Last edited by DCnDC; 07-19-2019 at 10:31 AM.
  #43  
Old 07-19-2019, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by DCnDC View Post
Serious question:

Do Jews think God is stupid (in which case, why are you worshiping an idiot?), is not paying attention (in which case, why bother following the rules?), or is a lawyer (in which case, they're all going to Hell Gehinnom no matter what )? Do they really think their god can't see through these silly ruses?

.
Which ruses? I got the impression from Post #4 that tricks like pre-programming an elevator or hiring someone else to operate it are in fact forbidden. As for cooking a meal in advance and leaving it on a hot plate, apparently that is permitted and not a ruse.
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Old 07-19-2019, 11:11 AM
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In Judaism, there's some disagreement on everything.
  #45  
Old 07-19-2019, 12:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCnDC View Post
Serious question:

Do Jews think God is stupid (in which case, why are you worshiping an idiot?), is not paying attention (in which case, why bother following the rules?), or is a lawyer (in which case, they're all going to Hell Gehinnom no matter what )? Do they really think their god can't see through these silly ruses?

.
Maybe they just believe that God prohibited what he meant to prohibit and that if he didn't say you couldn't use a fire started before the Sabbath to keep food warm, he didn't intend to forbid it. After all, the rule isn't "You can't eat hot food on the Sabbath"

Last edited by doreen; 07-19-2019 at 12:07 PM.
  #46  
Old 07-19-2019, 12:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCnDC View Post
Serious question:

Do Jews think God is stupid (in which case, why are you worshiping an idiot?), is not paying attention (in which case, why bother following the rules?), or is a lawyer (in which case, they're all going to Hell Gehinnom no matter what )? Do they really think their god can't see through these silly ruses?

.
[Moderating]

I think such a question is better suited for Great Debates than here.

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  #47  
Old 07-19-2019, 01:49 PM
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Sorry if these questions seem naive, but I wondered: Is any reading allowed? Is it restricted to reading scripture? Or no reading at all? Are there restrictions on talking?
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They’d probably put my head in a guillotine
  #48  
Old 07-19-2019, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by psychonaut View Post
Or is the idea that you should only avail yourself of work by people whom you have personally met and who you know to be gentiles?
Wheb my uncle was a child he was once asked by neighbors who didn't know our family to turn on a light on the Sabboth. He didn't know enough to say no and it caused a small crisis.

Anyone who is Jewish by Jewish law, whether they consider themselves Jews or not, should never be enticed to break the Sabbath. Neither should the an observant Jew benefit from it. So make sure who you ask.
  #49  
Old 07-19-2019, 03:07 PM
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Slight nitpick, but it's generally accepted that the Laws were "laid down" well into the Iron Age.
The start of the Iron Age was around 1200 BC (obviously, it will vary a bit depending where in the world you're talking about). The earliest proto-Hebraic writings date from around 1100 BC. Presumably, there were Hebrew/Israeli traditions from prior to that date, so yes, the earliest bits are arguably Bronze Age, not Iron Age.
  #50  
Old 07-19-2019, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by DCnDC View Post
Serious question:

Do Jews think God is stupid (in which case, why are you worshiping an idiot?), is not paying attention (in which case, why bother following the rules?), or is a lawyer (in which case, they're all going to Hell Gehinnom no matter what )? Do they really think their god can't see through these silly ruses?.
Serious question: why are you assuming God is upset?

How do you know the purpose wasn't to breed a tribe of clever rules lawyers? Maybe God applauds every time someone finds a work-around to the rules.
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