28 June, 2009


It all depends what you mean by...

It is difficult not to find the case of the Colemans and their little problem with automatic hall lights on the Sabbath simultaneously irritating and amusing. Irritating because of the arrogant recourse to our (similarly irritating) human rights legislation and the assumption that it is everyone else who is out of step with them. Amusing because of the incongruity of an ancient body of rules whose original intent has been largely forgotten and which has become ossified into a self-perpetuating and meaningless ritual, struggling to cope with unforeseen change. Rather like the inconsistencies of British Sunday-observance legislation which forbade the opening of fish and chip shops on Sunday but failed to make advance provision for the subsequent introduction of Wimpy bars and their like.

The Coleman case also inspires disappointment. Where is that famous Jewish ingenuity and inventiveness which we goyim so admire? Surely this situation calls for little more than the application of a little creative hypocrisy. The solution here is the Shabbes Goy. Perhaps a gentile resident of the flats can be persuaded to walk through the relevant communal areas at agreed times on the Sabbath, giving a knock on the Colmans' door in passing. As the Goy is going to Hell anyway, his violation of the Sabbath law is irrelevant.

After all if the definitions of Sabbath law can be "adapted to avoid inconvenience" by establishing an eruv across a broad swathe of NW London, then I'm sure a little doctrinal or procedural sleight of hand will do the trick without causing a lot of expense and inconvenience.

Even the benighted Mussulman can manage the trick. Visiting a prostitute? Forbidden by the Qur'an my son. But no problemo, just marry the lady for half-an-hour, then everything will be kosher. (No, wait a minute...)

I'd mention the story about working round laws prohibiting the raising of pigs in Israel by keeping them on raised platforms so that the trayf little buggers did not actually come into contact with the soil of the Holy Land, but I rather suspect that that is an urban myth. Ingenious though.

Remember, when dealing with barmy rules, Creative Hypocrisy is your friend.

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