Skip to main content

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.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Battling the Evil Inclination on all Fronts

Yom Kippur.  When I was growing up, there were three annual events that marked the Jewish calendar: eating matzos on Passover, lighting candles on Chanuka, and  fasting on Yom Kippur.  Major news organizations around the world report on the "surreal" and "eerie" quiet of the streets in even the most secular neighborhoods of Israel.  Yom Kippur.

As you know, I am observant of Jewish law.  Some have even called me "ultra orthodox" (not in a kind way).  Given that, I have a question.  How likely do you think that I would be tempted to eat on Yom Kippur, that most holy day of the year?  Let's make the scale zero to ten, where zero is "as likely as driving through McDonald's on Shabbos and ordering a Big Mac with extra cheese." and ten is "as likely as breathing regularly".  Take your time.  If you answered "zero"; thank you, but -- sadly and penitently -- no.  The answer is more like nine; I'd like to say lower, but i…

Thought for the Day: Coming Into This World for Torah, Avodah, and Acts of Loving Kindness

This TftD is so self-serving that I should be embarrassed.  But I am not... talking about grandchildren is always off budget.  I have, bli ayin hara, a beautiful new grandson; born at 6:11 PM CDT last Friday night.  The secular (aka -- by me, anyway -- slave) date is October 20, 2017 CE.  The Hebrew (aka Real) date is certainly Rosh Chodesh חשון/Cheshvan and certainly in the year 5778 since Creation.  The date, you ask... good question!

Sundown on Friday night was 6:01 PM CDT, which means he was born either at the end of the last day of תשרי or the beginning of the first day of Cheshvan; a period know as בין השמשות/twilight.  What's the big deal, you ask... I am so glad you asked.  We all deal quite handily with בין השמשות every week and every holiday; we're just stringent.  We start Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov before בין השמשות; that is, before sundown.  Likewise, we end Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov after בין השמשות; some 42, 50, 60, or 72 minutes after sundo…

Thought for the Day: Prayer II -- How?

Now that we know that the obligation to pray is nothing more (nor less!) than a divine decree, we are going to also need instructions from heaven on how to implement that decree.  I cannot stress enough how important it is to have instruction from heaven how to implement heavenly decrees.  One only needs to look at the shambles that one modern ism has made of the very important Torah principle of תיקון עולם/improving and fixing the world.  They have taken words out of context and used them to support their own nefarious schemes.  (To the point that Google Translate actually translates -- not transliterates -- תיקון עולם as Tikkun Olam.  Amelia Bedelia would be proud; we are not amused.

The Torah teaches us how to pray in two complementary fashions.  One is the way in which the concept is presented as an obligation, the other is by giving us examples of how to practically implement those instructions.

The obligation is introduced in the second paragraph of "sh'ma" -- וּלְ…