Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: Your Life Should Get As Much Consideration As Your Car

The "Check Engine" light illuminated on my way home from learning Thursday night.  Nu, nu... not great, but not the end of the world.  I took it to the mechanic on Friday morning only to find out he was really backed up.  "You can leave it if you want, but I can't guarantee I'll be able to look at it before Tuesday."  Oh... right... Memorial Day weekend.  We only have one car, so I asked what he thought of my driving it all weekend.  "Well... the light is on steady and the car feels like it is running ok; you'll probably be ok.  However, I don't want to be responsible for you getting out somewhere and the car dying on you.  It's your decision and responsibility."  I also didn't want to take the chance of being stuck in the middle of nowhere, so I left the car.

I was once living in an area where there was a machlokes about the eiruv.  (Yes, as a matter of face, I did once live in an area where there was absolutely no machlokes about the eiruv.  It was in Dallas, Texas; before the built the eiruv....)  A neighbor remarked to me, "I don't know what all the issues are concerning the eiruv; so I use it."  As far as I know, "safiek d'oraisa l'chumra".  If he didn't know, then the only prudent decision would have been not to use the eiruv, right?  Maybe you'll tell me that he was confident that there were no issues at the d'oraisa level, so was relying on "safeik d'rabanan l'kula".

Maybe; but that doesn't actually help.  The Shulchan Aruch OC 202:18 (hilchos birkas ha'peiros) notes that the bracha of "she'hakol" is a sort of catch all bracha.  "Sort of" being the operative phrase.  The Shulchan Aruch says that if one is in doubt, then he should make the bracha of she'hakol.  So far, so good.  The Mishna Brura (sk 64), however explains from the gemara that the phrase "in doubt" means after one has learned and come to the conclusion that it is impossible to clarify.  However: "im mi she'lo lamad, lo yocheil ahd she'yeilech etzel chacham l'lamdo b'rachos"/if he hasn't learned, then don't eat until he goes to a chacham to teach him the laws of blessings.

Given that no rational person would drive his car given that kind of doubt, doesn't seem like much of a chumra, does it?

Comments

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…