According to Orthodox

halakhic authorities, the use of electricity on Shabbat is forbidden in most situations. The word halakha is derived from the Hebrew root halakh – “to walk” or “to go”. Taken literally, therefore, halakha translates as “the way to walk”, rather than “law”. The word halakha refers to the corpus of rabbinic legal texts, or to the overall system of religious law. Why can’t Orthodox Jews use electricity on Shabbat, you might ask? To find the answer I went to something called It is there you will find a lot of information about these things. As far as I could tell, it boils down to this, the prohibition of igniting a fire: “You shall not ignite a fire in any of your dwelling places on the day of Shabbat.” Since any kind of work is banned on that day, lighting a fire is considered “work”. You can’t drive a car turn on a light switch, or open a refrigerator door.

I had one of these but I dropped it and it broke

Some Jews have figured out ways around these prohibitions. You can buy a thing called a “Kosher Light Switch”. The company that makes these launched in 2015. Shortly afterwards there was fierce debate among Rabbis as to whether or not the switch was Kosher or not. According to the manufacturer, the switch is based upon “un-grama”. The basic idea is that the switch activates only sometimes, and only after a delay, making the action indirect and uncertain. In case you’re wondering what “grama” is, it is something that was indirectly caused by something else but which outcome is not guaranteed. In civil law there is a rule that grama benizakin patur. If somebody caused financial harm to somebody else via an action that was not guaranteed to harm them, the person cannot be forced by a court to pay, although he might be morally obligated to.

It’s all very interesting. The Orthodox Jewish ritual of kaparot — in which chickens are ritualistically twirled in the air and slaughtered as a way of transferring a person’s sins onto the dead animal, is still practiced by some Orthodox Jews. I’m not going to make a comment on any of the above, I’m just going to leave it all here. Maybe we’ll take a look at the Amish next, or some other religious sect who have interesting laws and customs. This is my way of navigating the world we live in. It’s called discovery. Imagine we’re on a space ship that is visiting distant planets that no one has ever been to. It’s like that.

In other non-news today is moderately cooler. The thermometer is currently on 77 deg f indoors, while outside it’s 71. It takes a while for the brick oven to cool down. Soon it will be snowing I have no doubt. Speaking of the Amish, I’d like to go out to Pennsylvania sometime and get some more of that Shoofly pie that they make. Today Wikipedia is my friend.. “Shoo-fly pie began as a crust-less molasses cake called Centennial cake in 1876, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia.”

They started putting it in a pie crust later on because it was easier for people to eat with their hands. Is it Kosher? No word on the internet on that. “some results have been removed”. I’ll assume that it is. It’s only water and molasses in a pie crust. I could probably make it myself. It’s not gluten-free though. I was in a store about a week ago and this couple was walking around looking at the food products and discussing what was in them. The main preoccupation seemed to be if it was gluten free or not. The reason for this gluten phobia comes from the belief that gluten increases the amounts of amino acids in your digestive tract. There are people who are generally gluten intolerant. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease which affects 1% of the world’s population.

Personally I don’t know. Gluten free bakery products are inedible, so just stop trying to fool yourself that it’s real bread. It’s all so tiresome.