Question on Jewish Law?

Okay, I have a question. (And I hope this is in the right forum.) I was talking to a Jewish friend tonight, and she said that Jews aren’t allowed to use umbrellas on the Sabbath. Is this true? And if so, why?

(FTR - I’m not slamming anyone. I’m just genuinely curious about this - it seems a little…odd.)

“You have to laugh at yourself, because you’d cry your eyes out if you didn’t.”
-Emily Saliers


Falcon, I don’t know if she was pulling your leg or not, but that may be the funniest thing I’ve read tonight!

I agree it’s hilarious, but she was dead serious. And got annoyed when I questioned her. She’s been known to go to extremes in the past, so I thought I’d ask the Teeming Millions for some confirmation. (cmkeller, you around anywhere?)

It is true. for very orthodox very conservative sects. they can not open an umbrella. Don’t no about use. Some get around a prohibition of igniting fireson Sabat by having a gentile turn on lights. Hassid? hassidm? A source for one of the things i know nothing about [url but you know what is really funny? Jews can’t eat bats! Now that is hilarious.

“Pardon me while I have a strange interlude.”-Marx

AH,bats I mean RATS! ask for ‘ask a rabbi’ nice guy ,I helped him with cleaning a smelly shofur once. ( Yeh,yeh ok, drove the limo through the carwash with the windows down , just in case nick or dex come by!)

“Pardon me while I have a strange interlude.”-Marx

Until, someone more knowledgeable about Judaism than I gives an definitive answer, I can provide this link.

Regarding “work” on Shabbat:

A list of 39 categories of forbidden acts is listed as well.

I’m gonna simplify enormously, because otherwise this would be way more than anyone cares about.

For traditional Jews, there are 39 forbidden activities on the Sabbath. One of this is carrying or moving stuff outside of the house (or fenced yard.) Thus, it would not be permitted to carry the umbrella outside. There’d be no problem with using the umbrella (as far as I know) in your fenced-in back yard, for instance, since the fenced-in yard is considered part of the house.

That would be my guess as to what your friend is talking about.

CK -

That was one objection. She was also saying something about an umbrella being a tent, and you couldn’t set up a tent on the Sabbath. Is that true as well?

I was friends with a couple from nonobservant families . . . they became observant after their marriage.

They wouldn’t even answer the phone on the Sabbath. . . walked to the synagogue because they couldn’t drive . . . ate a cold meal because they couldn’t cook. Last I heard they were renovating their house so it had two kitchens.

At Mt. Sinai Hospital in NYC, elevators are programmed for the Sabbath and they automatically stop at every floor; apparently the Orthodox cannot push an elevator button.

On the other hand, I know people that keep a kosher home . . . so that means they eat their cheeseburgers off of paper plates.

your humble TubaDiva
Work, schmerk, can I get a doctor here?

So far as I know the rules about umbrella, strollers and wheen chairs are indicated by how the “community home” has been marked. In Cities with a large Jewish community groups will try tp mark several points, do not recall how many are required.

There is an expresson that describes the above but do not recall it, believe is re-newed a few weeks before RH-New Year.

TubaDiva, if they’re observant, they won’t be eating cheeseburgers on their paper plates. That violates the commandment about mixing meat and dairy. When you see the marking “Pareve” on kosher food, that means it is neither mear nor dairy, so you can eat it with either one. Really observant families have separate dishes for meat and dairy, and if you go to the butcher’s area in a kosher grocery store, you’ll see separate slicers and cutting boards for the two, with a Pareve area between the two.

Okay, someone mentioned that some strict observers of the Sabbath “get around” the prhobition against performing work on the Sabbath by having a Gentile do this. What I’m wondering is, isn’t that also prohibited? Doesn’t the commandment prohibit “you or any in your household or your servant?”

JoltSucker, I think the 'Diva was kidding.

On an umbrella as a tent: I never heard that, seems a stretch to me, but one never knows. Some interpretations become rather stretched, as rulings from about 100 BC thru 200 AD get applied to modern circumstances. I’ll try to ask around and see what I learn.

On cheeseburgers: There is a wide range of practice, and there is the theoretical teaching of the branch (or sect) compared to individual practice. I know of many conservative Jews who keep a kosher home but eat non-kosher out of the house, or on paper plates. My in-laws, in fact, behave this way. I don’t quite understand it, it seems pretty silly to me, but what the heck.

Someone who was truly orthodox would not eat the mixture of meat and milk/cheese at all.

On the other hand, it is nowadays possible to have a cheeseburger made from soy and non-dairy cheese, that would have neither meat nor milk in it, so the lines can be blurry.

On the use of a non-Jew to do work prohibited to Jews: I never looked into this, but my guess would be that the prohibition applies to Jewish servants and household members. A paid (salaried) non-Jewish employee would not fit that category.

I once asked a very Jewish friend if she could set her VCR on Thursday to record a show being broadcast on her Sabbath. She got very upset trying to figure it out and went to her Rabbi, who also got very confused and finally ruled that they can have a non-Jew set it for them, but could not set something themselves which would begin to “work” on the Sabbath.

. . . And people wonder why I’m an atheist.

Sure am…between Monday and Friday. What, you think I do this on my own time with a 28.8 modem? No, here, I’ve got a T-1 and I’m being paid for it!

As for the umbrella question: It is forbidden, for the tent reason. My understanding is that when you place something over your head as protection (not counting clothes, which are a different category of object), this is considered in the category of “building”, which is one of the 39 forbidden categories.

Cheeseburgers: A Jew who keeps kosher will not eat a cheeseburger. I once heard a great line about someone who keeps kosher in the home but not when dining out…the rabbi told them that their dishes will go to heaven.

Use of a non-Jew to do work on Shabbos: A Jew cannot explicitly ask a non-Jew to do for him anything that he (the Jew) wouldn’t be allowed to do for himself. However, the Jew could “hint” at it, and if the non-Jew does it, it’s fine. For example:

WRONG: Christopher, could you please turn on the light?

RIGHT: Boy, it’s dark in here, isn’t it?

Sounds flimsy, but there is a difference in Jewish law between doing something “actively” and having it done “passively”.

As for using a VCR timer: I’m unsure of the details of the VCR. I do know that most Orthodox Jews (myself included) use timers to turn lights on and off on Shabbos. My best guess is that she was using some sort of “VCR-Plus” service which would amount (according to Jewish law, as that Rabbi sees it) to her explicitly asking the company to record for her on Shabbos. But I really couldn’t say without greater knowledge of the details of the case.

The word for that “community home” is Eruv.

Chaim Mattis Keller

“Sherlock Holmes once said that once you have eliminated the
impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be
the answer. I, however, do not like to eliminate the impossible.
The impossible often has a kind of integrity to it that the merely improbable lacks.”
– Douglas Adams’s Dirk Gently, Holistic Detective

Thanks, Chaim. The only thing I can add concerns the VCR. I don’t think VCR-Plus is involved, because everything is pre-set, and no human actually would be doing any action on the Sabbath. Even if one would want to record some kind of pey-per-view event, I suspect that it is all entered into the computer beforehand, and no human would be doing any act on the Sabbath on behalf of any particular individual.

I have heard some rabbis allow setting a VCR because, like timers to turn the lights on and off, everything is done in advance. I have heard other rabbis forbid it because one might adjust the controls on the Sabbath if one realizes that he programed it for the wrong channel or time or whatever. My own rabbi okays it, provided the VCR is covered in such a way that he will not be aware of whether or not it is taping correctly, and so will not come to the temptation to adjust it.

OK, I just have to ask: WHY???

What is the biblical reasoning behind not being able to set your VCR or turn on a light on the Sabbath? Yes, I admit I am totally ignorant of most religious law, so please explain to me why a god would punish you for turning on a light!

The sin involved is not turning the light on or off – it is in obeying or disobeying God. In many religions there are actions which are probably harmless, in and of themselves, but proscribed. The devout follower is probably well aware
that they are not spiritually significant except that they have been set apart, somehow, by God.

In a biblical story, King Saul was commanded to kill all the livestock from a captured city but he didn’t. When Samuel chastised him, Saul said he was going to sacrifice them to God. Samuel’s reply was that “obedience is better than sacrifice”.

“non sunt multiplicanda entia praeter necessitatem”