JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Re: Carrying money on the Sabbath #general

Judith Romney Wegner

At 11:07 PM -0400 9/25/06, Paul Silverstone wrote:
* I discovered an article in a newspaper >from 1900 in Winnipeg where
my great-grandfather testified about not carrying money on the Sabbath.
He said that that only referred to coppers and not silver, gold or
paper money. Is there any truth to this or is it a local rationalization?

The prohibition against carrying money on Shabbat does not in principle make
such fine distinctions. Carrying money is forbidden is forbidden for two reasons:

(1) "muqtseh." This is an example of a "gezerah" -- a "fence round
the law." It is a precautionary rule that says in essence that if
something may not be used on shabbat it shouldn't even be handled in
case this leads to its being used. (for instance, one should not
pick up a pencil or a needle on Shabbat). The word muqtseh means
literally "out of bounds".

(2) "reshut ha-rabbim" -- the rule that forbids carrying in the
public domain on shabbat. The term means literally "public domain."

In recent times I recall an exception being made in some place where
there had been attacks on Jews walking to or >from synagogue on
Shabbat. Some rabbi (I forget whom) issued a responsum that it was
o.k. to carry cash to hand over to any bandit who demanded it and who
might otherwise get into a rage and beat someone up simply for not
having anything handy to give the attacker!

A distinction between carrying paper money vs. coin money might make
sense (for instance, paper money does not rattle embarrassingly in
the pocket!) However, that doesn't really address the question of
"muqtseh." And obviously a distinction permitting copper coins on
the one hand and forbidding silver or gold on the other does not make
sense if one's goal is primarily to deflect a beating-up by
potential robbers!

Judith Romney Wegner

MODERATOR NOTE: This line of discussion is drifting away >from genealogy.

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