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Friday, August 22, 2014

A Big Jewish Step

There is a raging debate in the Jewish world over whether or not electricity equals fire as relates to use on the Sabbath.  In short, if it does, then I can't use it; if it doesn't, then I can.

Until this weekend, I was part of the "I can use it" camp.  Then I realized the following:

At home, I mark the beginning of the Sabbath by lighting a candle.  That candle is symbolic and significant because I go on to not use fire for the rest of the Sabbath.

At school, I will be using electric Sabbath candles.  Now, either electricity is not fire, in which case I can use it, but it doesn't count for my candles; or it is fire, in which case I can't use it, and it does count for my candles; but I cannot say that it is fire for my candles and not elsewhere as well.

So.  Deep breath, big step, here I go.

1 comment:

  1. Hmm! A tough one. Presumably the electric candles in school is because of safety issues in a public building?
    I find it a little confusing (forgive my ignorance here, please) - if you light candles to mark the beginning of the Sabbath and it is acceptable to use a flame to do so, surely it is OK to use electricity in the same way, but only in the way that you would use candle flame - not for heat or cooking? etc.
    I have wondered about it since childhood as I used to go in to our Jewish neighbour's house to turn on lights and heating on Friday evening for them. They wanted the comfort of light and heat but I always wondered if I was helping them to cheat. Mr Gtold me it was fine for them to benefit fro electricity but they just mustn't switch it on as that was work, which was forbidden on the Sabbath.
    I felt the same about the Christian observance of no meat on Fridays, or certain days in Lent, which my Grandmother insisted we should follow. Fish was served instead, but the wording was actually 'no flesh shall be consumed' and, though I couldn't argue with adults, I was sure that fish was 'flesh' too.
    It can be so hard to know what the original intention of religious observances were, but it is an interesting subject for debate. I'd love to know what you decide and how you come to your decision.


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I am a bipolar, Jewish young adult (had my Hebrew birthday, the one I count, and turned 23 this past January) who also suffers from Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. I love life and I live for my best friends: they are my purpose and my reason for trying so hard. I remain passionately devoted to those I love; I will not let my disorders make me totally self-centered. I like to read, write, and sew. My Rabbinical school plans did not work out, and I am now hoping to go into the field of Early Childhood Education. Please note: I am currently maintaining only Carried in His Hands. Enjoy!