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Thread: Orthodox Family Feels Trapped on Shabbat

  1. #21
    Moderator HCProf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sassy View Post
    OK well a condo board can make an accommodation for any request of any nature if it wants to and membership doesn't have a strong objection. As I said, I would vote for the light situation but say sorry about the pool. I wouldn't even care about the electricity, but if others did, I would say ok they can pay the difference then. It's not that big of a deal. I personally lean towards compromise and goodwill whenever possible.
    Same here...because it makes for a harmonious, inclusive society.
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  2. #22
    Veteran Member Southern Dad's Avatar
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    Here's an interesting question on the topic. Is the physical flipping on the light switch the act that is prohibited or just causing it to come on? When I was a kid, I responded to an ad seeking a goy. A term that I did not know at the time. This family who lived very close to me, needed someone to do a few tasks for them on Friday nights and Saturdays. It was easy work. There was a schedule. On Friday night, I would adjust their boiler (Yes, they had an old fashioned scary boiler in the basement.), turn off some lights, close the garage doors, bring their trash cans back from the road (We had Friday pickup) and a couple other small tasks. On Saturday mornings, I would bring a loaf of fresh bread and adjust the boiler. Saturday at lunch, I brought their food from a restaurant.

    The reason for my odd question is that it was not unusual for one of the family members to ask me to turn on the lights in a certain room. Would his asking me to turn on the lights in his office, be any different, from the rules standpoint, than automation turning on the light? I remember one time someone delivered a package to his mailbox on Saturday. This was a big box and it was on the ground. They were unable to help me carry it. The father asked me if I could find someone to help me move it to the house, if not he was going to let it get rained on. They did take their faith seriously.

    Would Smart Plugs and Smart Bulbs be allowed to be used?
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  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sassy View Post
    I want to call them and say they can get a petition from the membership . Whatever the % required in their by-laws, if they can get that many members to agree, they can have their will.
    I would hope one of the daughters/friend/other would make the suggestion of a petition, before a move should occur.

    It was sad to read they are all ready tiring of standing strong, it's only been two months.
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  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Dad View Post
    Here's an interesting question on the topic. Is the physical flipping on the light switch the act that is prohibited or just causing it to come on? When I was a kid, I responded to an ad seeking a goy. A term that I did not know at the time. This family who lived very close to me, needed someone to do a few tasks for them on Friday nights and Saturdays. It was easy work. There was a schedule. On Friday night, I would adjust their boiler (Yes, they had an old fashioned scary boiler in the basement.), turn off some lights, close the garage doors, bring their trash cans back from the road (We had Friday pickup) and a couple other small tasks. On Saturday mornings, I would bring a loaf of fresh bread and adjust the boiler. Saturday at lunch, I brought their food from a restaurant.

    The reason for my odd question is that it was not unusual for one of the family members to ask me to turn on the lights in a certain room. Would his asking me to turn on the lights in his office, be any different, from the rules standpoint, than automation turning on the light? I remember one time someone delivered a package to his mailbox on Saturday. This was a big box and it was on the ground. They were unable to help me carry it. The father asked me if I could find someone to help me move it to the house, if not he was going to let it get rained on. They did take their faith seriously.

    Would Smart Plugs and Smart Bulbs be allowed to be used?
    I'm sure all that is open to interpretation. I think these people are particularly strict in this case. They are not intentionally turning anything on. I don't know how they avoid all the automation in life believing this way. Or maybe the people who hired you cheated!

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Djinn View Post
    While I'm Jewish by heritage, I don't practice the faith. Partially because I'm an atheist, and partially because following the myriad rules and rituals of the Jewish faith is a royal pain. This is a good example. Shabbat lasts from a few minutes before sunset on Friday and runs until an hour after sunset on Saturday. That's about 25 hours, once per week.

    During this time, observant Jews are expected to follow additional rules such as observing prohibitions on 39 activities. Many of these activities are easy to avoid; I don't know when I last spent time "binding sheaves." Or even Googling "sheaves" to figure out how to properly bind them. Or working out I'm supposed to do with "sheaves" once they've been bound. But I digress...

    But one of the big ones is "kindling a fire." In this modern ago, most observant Jews consider electricity as a modern form of fire. After all, electrical sparks are a sort of fire. And heating the tungsten filament of a an incandescent light bulb is considered fire. Some Jewish people see observations of the laws as a necessary sacrifice of convenience. Others find clever ways around the laws. Some configure timers in advance. And for years, "Shabbat lamps" have been available, which are left on throughout the Sabbath (you can leave existing fires burning) - but the lamp has a physical light-blocking shutter that functions as a Sabbath-friendly off-switch. Skim the Wikipedia page for more on the subject.

    Where it gets complicated* is when you have multiple families living in an apartment building, and not all of them observe the Sabbath. For example, if you're a practicing Jew on the 18th floor of your apartment building, there's no pushing elevator buttons. Buildings with a high Jewish population sometimes put their elevators into "Sabbath mode," and the elevator will continuously ride up and down, stopping at every floor.

    ================

    So onto the subject ... The plight of the family described in this article. They live in an Atlantic City condominium with a very low Jewish population. They consider themselves imprisoned in their apartment for 25 hours each day, because building management installed motion-detecting light switches in the hallways. If they leave their apartment, they'll trip the motion sensor, and turn on a light (kindling a fire).

    Link to article

    ================

    Those who know me probably know my feeling on this. They ARE trapped. But if you're practicing your religious faith to the extent that it makes you unhappy, then you need to work it out with your god. If you're happier staying in your apartment for 25 hours than you are for effectively violating one of the rules, then take whichever course of action makes you happiest.

    But you don't get to complain about it afterwards.

    BTW, if Ian joins, and clarifies or contradicts anything I've said about how Jewish people observe the Sabbath, his understanding is way better than mine on this subject.


    * What, you thought it was already complicated? You have no idea...
    Mr. Djinn,

    No big whoop. Why should everybody else be inconvenienced because they want to practice their religious beliefs?

    And frankly, it's pretty silly to think that tripping a motion sensor light violates the tenets of Shabbat.

  6. #26
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    Yup. Different Rabbis are going to say different things:

    The angle at which the motion-sensors are set determines whether or not a given action will activate them. The halacha varies accordingly.

    Sometimes the sensors are set at such an angle that you can pass by without activating them - they only activate if you actually approach the house. In such a situation, it's permitted to walk by. This is based on the following rule: If a permitted action might or might not cause a prohibited result, the action is nonetheless permitted. This is provided that you're not purposely trying to cause the prohibited result.

    However, many motion-sensitive lights are set at such an angle that you can't walk past the house without activating them (unless you crawl past on your belly - something not recommended on Shabbat or any non-combat situation). In such a situation, the halacha generally forbids walking past. This is true even though you don't intend turn the light on, and you derive no real benefit from the light - for example, there's adequate street lighting.

    However, some authorities rule that if you don't intend the prohibited result to occur, and you don't benefit from it, the act it permitted even though the result is sure to occur. Based on this and other factors, Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashev, shlita, ruled that if you're on the way to do a mitzvah - for example, going to and from Synagogue or the Shabbat meal - it's permitted to walk past these lights if there's no other way to go.
    https://ohr.edu/ask_db/ask_main.php/148/Q1/
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  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tedminator View Post
    Glad I'm not an orthodox anything. I have a hard enough time remembering to observe the Vatican's Fish Fry Fridays rule... and I happen to like seafood! yum
    I thought that rule was suspended some time ago.
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  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kallie Knoetze View Post
    Mr. Djinn,

    No big whoop. Why should everybody else be inconvenienced because they want to practice their religious beliefs?

    And frankly, it's pretty silly to think that tripping a motion sensor light violates the tenets of Shabbat.
    Why is it a big deal for the lights to be left on for 24 hours once a week? Probably how they were before. I think the motion detected lights only is rather creepy anyway. I would sign the petition even if I didn't want to be nice. I would want the hallways lit all the time. For security. Someone could hide in the dark after tripping the light and then the required amount of time to go by for it to shut off.
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  9. #29
    Member Arkady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Djinn View Post
    While I'm Jewish by heritage, I don't practice the faith. Partially because I'm an atheist, and partially because following the myriad rules and rituals of the Jewish faith is a royal pain. This is a good example. Shabbat lasts from a few minutes before sunset on Friday and runs until an hour after sunset on Saturday. That's about 25 hours, once per week.

    During this time, observant Jews are expected to follow additional rules such as observing prohibitions on 39 activities. Many of these activities are easy to avoid; I don't know when I last spent time "binding sheaves." Or even Googling "sheaves" to figure out how to properly bind them. Or working out I'm supposed to do with "sheaves" once they've been bound. But I digress...

    But one of the big ones is "kindling a fire." In this modern ago, most observant Jews consider electricity as a modern form of fire. After all, electrical sparks are a sort of fire. And heating the tungsten filament of a an incandescent light bulb is considered fire. Some Jewish people see observations of the laws as a necessary sacrifice of convenience. Others find clever ways around the laws. Some configure timers in advance. And for years, "Shabbat lamps" have been available, which are left on throughout the Sabbath (you can leave existing fires burning) - but the lamp has a physical light-blocking shutter that functions as a Sabbath-friendly off-switch. Skim the Wikipedia page for more on the subject.

    Where it gets complicated* is when you have multiple families living in an apartment building, and not all of them observe the Sabbath. For example, if you're a practicing Jew on the 18th floor of your apartment building, there's no pushing elevator buttons. Buildings with a high Jewish population sometimes put their elevators into "Sabbath mode," and the elevator will continuously ride up and down, stopping at every floor.

    ================

    So onto the subject ... The plight of the family described in this article. They live in an Atlantic City condominium with a very low Jewish population. They consider themselves imprisoned in their apartment for 25 hours each day, because building management installed motion-detecting light switches in the hallways. If they leave their apartment, they'll trip the motion sensor, and turn on a light (kindling a fire).

    Link to article

    ================

    Those who know me probably know my feeling on this. They ARE trapped. But if you're practicing your religious faith to the extent that it makes you unhappy, then you need to work it out with your god. If you're happier staying in your apartment for 25 hours than you are for effectively violating one of the rules, then take whichever course of action makes you happiest.

    But you don't get to complain about it afterwards.

    BTW, if Ian joins, and clarifies or contradicts anything I've said about how Jewish people observe the Sabbath, his understanding is way better than mine on this subject.


    * What, you thought it was already complicated? You have no idea...
    To me, this reads the same way as if someone had a superstition against stepping on a crack (for fear of breaking his mother's back), and then the community put in a new sidewalk consisting of bricks, such that it was impossible to use it without stepping on cracks. If you're imprisoned that way by your superstitions, it's time to seek professional help.
    Thanks from Friday13

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sassy View Post
    Why is it a big deal for the lights to be left on for 24 hours once a week? Probably how they were before. I think the motion detected lights only is rather creepy anyway. I would sign the petition even if I didn't want to be nice. I would want the hallways lit all the time. For security. Someone could hide in the dark after tripping the light and then the required amount of time to go by for it to shut off.
    Ms. Sassy,

    Because it wastes energy and kinda negates the purpose of the motion sensor lights.

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