Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Unwanted lessons in practical halachah :(

We were walking under a tree on the way home from synagogue this past Shabbat/Sabbath when I felt something fall on my head, and asked my husband to investigate.

Oy. :(

"You'll have to wash your hair."

"But it's Shabbat!"

"You can't go back to shul with bird poop in your hair."

End of debate.

It got even better when we arrived home--after taking my jacket off, I saw that the little flyer had "let fly" on my jacket, as well. The only good news was that the dirty bird had missed my fancy pink and cream kippah with the braided edge--good luck cleaning bird poop out of a braid made of knitted yarn--by maybe half an inch.

Long-time readers of my blog know that I didn't get along particularly well with the last rabbi of our local Conservative synagogue, but I'll give him credit for what I learned from him. One of the things he taught us was that, if no pre-torn paper is available, one is permitted to use regular toilet paper on Shabbat "for the sake of dignity," but one has to tear it with a shinui, a change from one's usual method. (His preferred shinui was to tear it with his elbow. I find that too difficult, and prefer a karate chop with the wrist.) So I applied the principle of shinui--instead of getting into the tub, turning on both cold and hot water, and using shampoo, I washed the dirtied section of my hair at the sink using cold water and liquid hand soap. And I patted it dry instead of rubbing it vigorously with the towel, brushing it instead of combing it.

Sigh. Having already broken the prohibition against wringing liquid out of anything on Shabbat, I then had to break the prohibition against selecting, in order to wear a poop-free jacket back to Minchah-Maariv (Afternoon and Evening Services).

Not my favorite lessons in applied halachah/Jewish religious law. :(

See also The 39 melachot ("work" forbidden on Shabbat).


Blogger Larry Lennhoff said...

Selecting on Shabbat is permitted when all three of the following conditions are met:

a) done by hand (not with a tool)
b) selecting the desired object and leaving the undesired behind
c) for immediate use

So you can freely pick out a fresh blouse by hand after you have washed your hair. Just don't select the blouse, wash you hair wearing the old blouse, and then put on the new blouse - that isn't immediate use.

Tue Sep 06, 12:24:00 PM 2011  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Here's a good one for you, Larry: May one hand-wash strawberries and eat them immediately on Shabbat, getting around the "bugs-on-strawberries" problem by simply not eating all the way up to the stem, where the bugs are (according to Miami Al)?

Tue Sep 06, 01:10:00 PM 2011  
Blogger Larry Lennhoff said...

Do you not wash your hands on Shabbat because of borer issues? Why would strawberries be different?

Tue Sep 06, 01:44:00 PM 2011  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

I thought the bug-removal might pose a more specific problem. So I don't have to cut off the leafy tops and stems of strawberries with a knive before Shabbos? Works for me. Thanks.

Tue Sep 06, 02:26:00 PM 2011  
Blogger Larry Lennhoff said...

Miami Al's solution was

"Easiest solution for strawberries, cut off the leafy part and some sliver of the flesh... The issues with infestations is in the green part on top, not the berry itself."

By cutting off some sliver of the flesh you are no longer doing borer, since the part you are cutting away consists of both good and bad parts.

Tue Sep 06, 02:35:00 PM 2011  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Oh, I see. Cool!

Tue Sep 06, 02:49:00 PM 2011  
Blogger Woodrow/Conservadox said...

Congratulations on the resurrection of your blog!

Tue Sep 06, 08:22:00 PM 2011  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Woodrow, thanks. To paraphrase the Beatles, I got by with a little help from my friends. :)

Wed Sep 07, 12:29:00 PM 2011  

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