[Sca-cooks] Sabbath- was period substute for tomatoe

Judith Epstein judith at ipstenu.org
Sun Aug 23 15:51:02 PDT 2009

On Aug 23, 2009, at 5:36 PM, tudorpot at gmail.com wrote:

> What about reading- it can be done for pleasure or work, I sew for  
> pleasure. Yes, something is created, but when you read, something is  
> created in your mind, memories, knowledge etc. I must admit I do  
> find it hard to see how using using a heat source that was turned on  
> before the sabbath is not work. I do wonder at the use of timers or  
> devices like automatic elevators that on the sabbath open on every  
> floor, so that users are 'not ' working by pushing a button, but  
> nevetheless users are using power.

*laugh* I'm good at figuring out what to do on a normal Shabbat in my  
modern life, and I do love reading. But if I wanted to read, I could  
do that at home, in my modern living room with a cushy couch and a  
pair of cats. No, if I'm going to drive for hours in a car that costs  
me $300 to rent for a weekend, by gum, I'm going to interact with  
people, not read a book!

Using head sources: The Torah tells us that Jews are not permitted to  
engage in acts of mastery over the physical world (often poorly  
translated as 'work'). That means I don't light a fire or extinguish a  
fire. But if my campfire is burning since before Shabbat began, I can  
lean close to it to get warm, or read by its light. I can even do  
these things with a fire lit by someone else ON the Sabbath, as long  
as the person who lit that fire wasn't Jewish (since a Jew isn't  
permitted to benefit from another Jew's desecration of the Sabbath). I  
can also leave food on/near a fire to keep it heated -- as long as the  
food was already cooked to a minimally edible state before the Sabbath  
began, and was set on the fire before Sabbath began.

One can use something that was set up before Sabbath, such as a light  
on a timer, a stove kept at a low temperature and the food already on  
it, and so on. We just can't *actively manipulate* fire or  
electricity. It's just like using clothes that were sewn before  
Sabbath, eating off of dishes that were shaped before Sabbath, eating  
food that was harvested and prepared before Sabbath, reading a book  
that was written before Sabbath for the purpose of being used on  
Sabbath (such as a prayer book).


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