Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: Squeezing Liquids Out Of Stuff

I don't know about you, but I can't remember the last time I plugged a wine barrel with a linen stopper.  In fact, I am pretty darn sure that I never have.  So when I saw that 320:18 started that way, I figured this will be quick.  After all, it's not the first syef in Shulchan Aruch I've ever seen, nor the first Mishna Brura I've learned.  I had a good feeling about this.  Of course, I was wrong.

That syef takes two full pages of the Mishna Brura, including eight sub-paragraphs and three juicy Bi'ur Halachas.  Why?  Because of the little bit of wine that inevitably gets squeezed out of the cloth when the barrel is either stoppered or unstoppered.  That, friend, is the issur of s'chita.  Note, however, that s'chita is not one of the 39.  There's a bit of a machlokes about what the problem really is, and whether/under what conditions it is d'oraiso or d'rabanan.  We'll talk about that anon.  Then there is that "inevitably", aka "p'sik reisha" business.  If you don't catch the ungesquozen liquid in a bowl, then it's "p'sik reisha sh'lo nicha lei"/inevitable consequence that results in no benefit.  We aren't going to talk about that anon.

The confusion surrounding the precise malacha being violated, says Rabeinu Tam, is because it depends.  If the liquid under consideration is water (or even white wine, according to the T"az), then the squeezing results in cleaning the linen... the malacha is laudering/libun.  In that case, it really doesn't matter of you catch the liquid or not; the malacha was done once the squeezing started.

If, on the other hand, the liquid is something else, then the issur is actually a g'zeira because of m'farek -- removing a liquid from it's protective container.  However, if you don't catch the liquid, then is doesn't look like m'farek at all.  In that case, Rabeinu Tam says it is mutar l'chatchila.  Others, however, consider it still a g'zeira; basically, "lo plug"/we don't make such fine distinctions in g'zeiros.

So you can go from a real, live issur d'oraiso that would obligate one in a korban chatas, to assur m'd'rabanan, to mutar l'chatchila just with very little warning.  Something to think about when you are the sixth person washing and that hand towel is getting pretty wet...

Have a good Shabbos!


Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Using a Mitzvah Object for Non-Mitzvah Purposes

As I am -- Baruch HaShem -- getting older, I am more cognizant of the fact that I'd like to stay as healthy as possible right up the moment I leave this world.  Stuff hurting is not the problem (I am told there is an old Russian saying that once you are 40, if you wake up and nothing hurts -- you're dead), stuff not working, however, is a problem.  To that end, for several years now I commute to work by bicycle (weather permitting, 30 minutes on an elliptical machine when weather does not permit).  I recently took up some upper body weight training.  Not because I want to be governor of California, just simply to slow down loss of bone mass and extend my body's healthy span.  Simple hishtadlus.  I have an 18 month old grandson who is just the right weight for arm curls (yes... I am that weak), so I do about 10 reps when I greet him at night.  He laughs, I get my exercise; all good.  (Main problem is explaining to the older ones why zeidy can't give them the same "…

Thought for the Day: Thanking HaShem Each and Every Day for Solid Land Near Water

Each and every morning, a Jew is supposed to view himself as a new/renewed creation, ready for a new day of building his eternal self through Torah and mitzvos.  We begin the day with 16 brachos to praise/thank/acknowledge HaShem for giving us all the tools we need to succeed.  We have a body, soul, and intellect.  We have vision, mobility, and protection from the elements.  Among those brachos, we have one that perhaps seems a bit out of place: רוקע הארץ על המים/Who spreads out the land on/over the water.  After all, it's nice to have a dry place to walk, but does that compare to the gratitude I have for a working body and vision?  As it turns out, I should; as explained by the R' Rajchenbach, rosh kollel of Kollel Zichron Eliyahu (aka, Peterson Park Kollel).  Your best bet is to listen to the shiur; very distant second is to continue, which I hope will whet your appetite for the real thing.

First... since we have dry land, I don't have to slog to work through even a foot…

Thought for the Day: Hydroponically Grown Humans... I Feel Sick

I am quite openly not at all objective about abortion in particular and the treatment of human embryos and fetuses in general.  I am, after all, the survivor of a failed abortion attempt.  Not "thought about it, but couldn't go through with it"; not "made appointment, but then chickened out at the lost moment"; but, "tried a procedure, but was unsuccessful in attempt to abort".  Nonetheless, I try very hard to listen to the liberal arguments (which I also used to chant as part of the general liberal catechism), and am genuinely empathetic to the plight of women who find themselves in that difficult position.

What I heard on NPR this morning, however, has left me feeling physically ill.  You can read about it, if you like, but here's the bottom line:  Scientists in Cambridge have achieved a new record, they fertilized a human ova and then kept it alive in vitro (that is, in a test tube/petri dish in a laboratory) for 14 days.  The scientist involve…