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Thought for the Day: Snow On Shabbos

R' Henoch Liebowitz, ztz"l, would often say that you need two things to make it in this world: Emuna and a healthy sense of humor.  Usually I feel my emuna is the weak link, but this winter has been trying my sense of humor.  I made the mistake of being vocal before the winter about how cold doesn't deter me from riding my bicycle, but snow will; after all, I am wont to quip, "I strive to be not stupid."  I have been getting a pointed lesson this winter in, "Cold no problem?  Hmm... let's just test that theory."  Ok... I get it, but a joke is a joke, so can we ease up now?  One the other hand, I am getting more upper body exercise with with all the shoveling.

I was delighted, though, to get to a halacha that is right on inyana d'yoma and again tickles my inner nine year old boy funny bone:
The R"ahm mei'Rotenberg permits urinating on snow, but the Rosh advises caution. (320:14)
What might be the problem?  This halacha follows on the heels of blanket permission to tread on snow (320:13).  The problem with treading on snow is that the pressure causes melting.  That halacha follows on the heels of an admonition to not crush snow in your hand (320:9).  The Mishna Brura gives two reasons for this issur.  One, because it just looks like a malacha -- you have (abra ka'dabra) created water, after all.  Alternatively, it is a g'zeira to prevent you from even thinking about squeezing fruit for juice.  The Sha'ar Tzion notes that the reason of nolad here because that the Rema's reason, bu the m'chaber (on whom his commenting at this point) doesn't hold that way.

The reason to be meikel with urinating on the snow is either because your are not doing that with the specific intention of melting snow (unless you are a nine year old boy...), or because it's just impossible to avoid; if you have to go, you have to go!

At the end of the day, the Mishna Brura comes out like the Eliyahu Raba; if it's not a big deal, better to find somewhere a little warmer and less public.


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