Sunday, January 11, 2009

Help me out Here...

What the hell is this guy talking about?

Question:
What is the Halacha about clapping on Shabbat. Does it matter if it is in shul or not?

Answer:
It is forbidden to clap hands on Shabbat if not by a Shinui - on the back of ones hand.
The Shulchan Aruch Orach Chayim 339 and the R"ma both tended to be maykel [lenient], in order that the people who clapped would not be committing a sin.

The reason for the Isur [prohibition] is so as to stop one from fixing a musical instrument on Shabbat. Nowadays, when we do not know how to fix instruments there is more reason to be Matir [permissive].
First of all, I didn't realize that it was possible to fix an instrument by clapping one's hands. More importantly, however... WHAT?

3 comments:

Scazon said...

One of the halakhic reasons we don't play musical instruments on the Sabbath is to create a fence around the Torah: if the instrument broke, we might be tempted to fix it, and this would involve doing work. Therefore, you shouldn't play a musical instrument.

The nearest I can figure out about what that guy means by "Nowadays … we do not know how to fix instruments" is that we don't know exactly what form the instruments played in the Temple took (see many of the first lines of the Psalms for examples), which means we don't know how to fix them. And since these are presumably the instruments being referred to by the halakhah, there is reason to be permissive in the application of the halakhah.

I could be completely wrong, and he could mean something entirely different. It's a very odd thing to say, a very odd halakhah, and a very odd question.

Friar Yid (not Shlita) said...

There was another odd one right after that:

Kindly advise what Bracha Reshonoh to make on

A) instant oatmeal which comes packaged made of whole grain rolled oats (with oat bran) oat flour and you pour half a cup hot water over it, or

B) you pour half a cup cold water over it and place it in microwave.


Even the rabbi seems to be confused by it.

Sholom said...

From my personal observation, Chasidim tend to have no problem with clapping their hands on Shabbos, or tapping their feet, or pounding on a tabletop, or slapping the thighs, or any other activity connected with using body parts to keep a beat while singing.

Misnagdim, on the other hand, do not clap their hands on Shabbos, because clapping the hands is a form of making music. When they're singing on Shabbos, and they need to clap their hands, they turn one hand around, thereby doing it with a "shinui" (deviation from the norm).

In my well-researched opinion, this is what we would call "stupid Halacha", or Jewish law without a leg to stand on, much like the O-U symbol on your bottled water and baby carrots.

See, the reason that playing of musical instruments is forbidden on Shabbos, is because the act of tuning is an integral part of playing an instrument. Tuning perfects the instrument so that it's more than just a noisy paperweight; as such, it is a "Tuldah" (offshoot) of "Makkeh Bepatish" (final hammer blow), the 38th out of 39 activities that are forbidden on the sabbath.

Now, if there's an expert on music in the house, please explain to me how I can tune my hands, as my hand-clapping has been off-key for several months now.

Funny v-word: opoxyso