Friday, February 08, 2013

KGH Eruv down for Shabbos after 11PM; Shoveling snow on Shabbos

Via email:
Please note the  following: 
The Kew Gardens  Hill Eruv should not be used after 11 PM tonight. 
The Kew Gardens Eruv is down.

Good Shabbos!
Also via email, from a rabbi in KGH:
The coming snow storm carries with it numerous challenges to our safety, our schedules and our Halakhic observances.  To help navigate through this rough patch, here are a few ideas and resources:

1. Make sure to check up on people you know who might need an errand run or their well being insured.  Even if they just need to feel less isolated, your call will be a great Mitzvah.

2. Be aware that the Raffle Drawing scheduled for Motzaei Shabbat is being postponed due to the weather.  We will let you know of the rescheduled date as soon as a decision has been reached.

3. Know that the Mayor has issued a Weather Advisory concerning the storm.  It is attached to this note, with our thanks to QJCC Exec Cynthia Zalisky.
(Be aware, as well that Sunday afternoon the QJCC is having a Legislative Town Hall Meeting at New York Hospital of Queens. It will be particularly hard for them to draw a crowd under the circumstances.)

4. I am also attaching the guidelines for Hurricanes and power outages prepared by Rabbi Kenneth Brander of YU with the counsel of Rabbi Hershel Schachter. Hopefully circumstances will not be so severe as to require their application, but it's good to be prepared. You do not need to assume that the Eruv is down.  We will be trying to stay on top of the Eruv situation.

5. Snow Removal

For those who have a little time, here is a link to a ten minute shiur by Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz on Snow and its removal on Shabbat

If you have a little more time, here is a link to a 20 piece on the topic by Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky 

These pieces provide a nice overview of the issues dealt with by poskim in dealing with snow removal.  

However, I must disagree with them in one important point: Both Rabbis maintain that falling in fluffy, powdery snow is not a major safety issue.  I don't think that such a blanket statement can be made (pun intended.)  If you feel that there is a safety concern of people falling and getting hurt in the snow on your property, sidewalk, etc, the bottom line is that shoveling IS PERMITTED.  You will hear Rabbi Hershel Schachter say so in the middle of this longer shiur: (at approx 29:30 into the shiur.)

Because there are issues of excess exertion (tircha yeseira) and weekday activity (uvda d'chol) that may be entailed, you will find various poskim recommending, if possible, to have a non-Jew clear the snow, or to use a broom rather than a shovel, etc.  But these arrangements may not be feasible for most people, and so it is important to know that halakha is that shoveling is permissible for safety.

Salting is also permissible.  Some recommend that the lower layer of snow that  has become ice, should not be broken and shoveled, but may be salted and melted.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

No shoveling for safety by a Jew when it will involve melacha (carrying- at least when the eruv is down). Pikuach nefesh arguments are ludicrous- nobody who had an important enough job who couldn;t find arrangements to find someone else to shovel would take off from work to shovel himself. K"V ben bno shel kal vachomer that it's not doche shabbos.



Blog Widget by LinkWithin