Individual Postings 1st appeared(& were copied in html form) on the Email List Mail Jewish

From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@saber.towson.edu> Date: Mon, 24 Jul 2000 02:22:44 -0400 (EDT) Subject: When is a Loophole a copout vs legitimate In v32n93 Janice resumes the thread on Shabbos belts. Janice asks >> What is "the spirit of the thing" -- Is it to not go out on Shabbos because we've no eruv and can't lock our door? Is it to go out on Shabbos (presumably to daven with a minyan) yet still have the comfort of knowing that our home is secure? Taken a step further, if what's the "spirit" of the thing called an eruv? Is it to get around G-d's Torah, or to live within it? >> Janet poses a fundamental question about Judaism. When is a legal loophole desirable and when is it a copout. I would suggest an approach based on the UNDERLYING REASON for the law. Recall the Talmudic statement that a person who decides laws without knowing reasons is destroying the world. Let me give a simple contrast. It is prohibited to be in a locked room with a member of the opposite sex and it is prohibited to cook on the Sabbath. Technical ways out of these laws are to stay secluded in an UNLOCKED room and to cook ones meals BEFORE the Sabbath. So loosely, Janet can ask why should one of these loopholes be OK while the other is seen cautiously. The answer is that the REASON locked seculsion is prohibited is to prevent and/or discourage intimacy. Hence if an unlocked seclusion encourages intimacy I should avoid it!! But the reason for the Sabbath laws is NOT to discourage ownership. Rather the reason for the Sabbath laws is to discourage creativity. Sabbath prohibits PROCESS not OUTCOME. Hence preparing my meal beforehand is encouraged because I **still acknowledge Gods sovereignty** by going out of my way to cook the day before. In a similar manner no one is disputing that when I use a key in a belt that the key has a double function---as a garment and as a key. But again the purpose of Sabbath laws is not to deny accomplishment and ownership-- rather the purpose of Sabbath laws is to abstain from creativity so as to acknowledge Gods creativity. Hence there is no reason to perceive this as a loophole I hope this clarifies this difficult but fundamental issue Russell Jay Hendel; phd ASA Moderator Rashi Is Simple http://www.RashiYomi.Com/