Friday, September 14, 2012

There's a Price...

This isn't what I had planned on writing, but...

According to Jewish Law, there are many things we are forbidden to do on Shabbat.  If, and it has happened to many of us, suddenly an electric appliance or light bulb goes out and suddenly stops the electricity, even if it's just a few minutes after the very beginning of Shabbat, we must leave it all alone and not fix it, flip the fuse back on.

There are ways to get it done, like finding a non-Jew who can somehow understand the hints.  It's forbidden to outright request the act to be done.

Way back in the late 1960's when I was a "Stern girl," on rare, extremely rare occasions a radio alarm would go off on Shabbat blaring unacceptable noise in the dormitory.  Then we'd make our way to the entrance and "hint" to the non-Jewish guard that we needed help because of awful noises in room --.

For the first couple of decades here in Shiloh we had no way find a local non-Jew.  There just wasn't anyone. If there were some types of general problems with water and electricity that could be easily fixed locally, then the rabbi would sometimes say it could be done, but not in private homes unless life was really in danger. 

On occasions as we've gotten older, so have our parents and some parents live here or visit over Shabbat with non-Jewish caregivers.  Those families find their Shabbat frequently disturbed by requests for the non-Jew to fix some electrical problem. 

One family just sent out an email notice that their resident non-Jewish caregiver, who is responsible for giving 24/7 care to a very handicapped person is feeling very abused by all these requests, and they are tired of all of the knocks on the door waking them up.  From now on, if anyone needs such help, they will have to pay the non-Jew immediately after Shabbat.

There's something we must all remember about the caregivers.  They are hired to take care of the handicapped full-time, day and night and frequently don't get much sleep. They are not supposed to be leaving the home where they work, so when people ask them for favors it's a real problem, morally and legally.

Shabbat Shalom


Hadassa said...

There's no excuse for having an aide work double time, especially without double pay. Most of the people requesting Shabbos goy services were almost certainly not in dire need of them.

Batya said...

Yes, Hadassa, and we managed through those inconveniences without help for years and survived.