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Thought for the Day: Sometimes A Cunning Evasion Is Permitted, But Not Usually

A harahmah ("cunning evasion"... isn't that the coolest translation ever?  I mean.., OMG!) is sort of the pork barrel of halacha.  Basically you want to get something done that is basically assur given the current situation, but is basically mutar in other situations, so basically you change the current situation in a sneaky way simply to get away with your fiendish plan.  A basic example would be where you want to cook something on Yom Tov to be ready right after Yom Tov.  That is basically assur.  On the other hand, you are allowed to cook something for yourself to eat right now, and you are even allowed to cook a lot if you think guests might arrive.  So you say, "I could sure go for some of that delicious frazzle and it would certainly make my Yom Tov happier; besides, some guests could show up in the next 17 minutes?"  You then cook up 37 servings of delicious frazzle and take one bite to show your ... ahem ... sincerity.  Basically; don't do that.

Haramah is even worse than meizid (flagrant violation).  Halacha is not concerned that kosher Jews will be tempted to follow a flagrant violator of halacha.  However, the ramai (cunning evader) is smooth.  He sounds knowledgeable and seems to be doing something permissible.  Such people are dangerous.

Sometimes haramah is permitted.  The most famous example is muktzeh, about which the Aruch HaShulchan says that haramah is permitted l'chatchila.  The classic case is wanting to save your hammer (left out on the back lawn by your progeny).  A hammer is a "keili sh'm'lachto l'issur"/a tool whose main function is to do something that is forbidden on Shabbos and Yom Tov.  However, being a keili sh'm'lachto l'issur, you are allowed to move it if you need the tool itself or the place where the tool is currently resting.  You may not, however, move a keili sh'm'lachto l'issur to save it from being damaged.  The haramah in this case would be to decide you want to have some nuts.  Your nut cracker is not in your hand, so you are permitted (says the Aruch HaShulchan) to bring you hammer in from the yard (assuming it is Yom Tov or your yard is fenced or there is a proper eiruv) to crack the nuts.  Once it came into your hand b'heter, you can move it to where ever you want before putting it down.  You really don't even have to eat the nuts now, but that's really sneaky on top of sneaky.

There are other things that look like haramah, but aren't.  That's where you really need to do something that is mutar and by being clever about how you do it, you can also accomplish something that would otherwise be assur.  That's way too interesting to try to explain in a couple of lines.


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