Monday, August 15, 2005

Shabbos: The Sticky Fig Cake

Amidst all the possible Shabbos violations, the byzantine plots to transport one thing or another from private domain to private domain when a public domain separates them is the one most likely to lead to pie throwing. When the sticky fig cake adheres to the wall and doesn't bounce back (100a), I want to page Rabbi Moe, Rabbi Larry, and Rabbi Curley!

Likewise when someone inadvertently throws an object (that is, he threw it before he realized it was Shabbos) and then remembers it is Shabbos after it leaves his hand, he is exempt from the obligation of a chatas offering if a dog catches it in midair or it burns in flight (102a). This is a production worthy of Rabbis Barnum & Bailey!

Flights of imagination, like flights of pies and dog biscuits, abound. On 104a we are reminded that "a prophet is not permitted to introduce anything new," but we are told that prophets "reinstitute" ordinances that have been "forgotten." Here, as in many other places in this text, a strict boundary is balanced by a broad mandate.