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Wednesday, 1 June 2016

The Eruv

The jewish sabbath is massively inconvenient. You can't use a wheelchair, or a baby buggy, for example. If you need a walking frame to get about, tough. You can't carry your house keys, or prayer books. What a pain!

So in the face of this huge inconvenience, human ingenuity is deployed in order to foil the intention of god. Here's how it's done.

Inside your home, you can use wheelchairs, baby buggies, carry books, and so on. It's only outside that this is forbidden. As an extension of this, you can also do this in private gardens, and even in community areas, like a garden used by several families.

And that's the key.

An Eruv is an area that is enclosed. It doesn't have to be enclosed by much; you can use telephone poles with a fishing line strung high up between them; if there's places the eruv needs to go that doesn't have poles, you can plant your own. As long as it's enclosed, even by a gossamer thread, it's an eruv. Because it's a private space. It's a very clever way to fool god.

And a bit dodgy, because if the Eruv is broken, either by a bird flying into the gossamer thread, or by sabotage, then you no longer have an Eruv. Plus, if it's the Sabbath, you can't do the work that would be needed to repair it.

Wait, what? In what way is it a private space? Because anyone can walk into or out of it! It is *not* private.

It's fortunate that god is so easy to fool - the eruv isn't the only example of systems designed to fool god. Can someone explain to me why fervent christians, really keen on the Ten Commandments, are able to ignore the fourth commandment "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy" ? Instead of the seventh day, Saturday, they assign Sunday as being "The Lord's Day". But the commandment is quite clear. And ignored. And while we're on the subject, how come Christians eat bacon? I know why I do, I like the taste and texture. But if you want to do what god says, how can you justify eating bacon? I've seen an opinion that Jesus said it was OK, but he also said "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." Meaning that the whole of the law applies until the end of the world, with nothing left out.


As an atheist, I'm immune to all this; I can walk around any day I like. I can eat bacon. And I don't need to fool god, because he isn't there.

But I have a lot of trouble understanding how people who do believe in god, think they can fool him.

Anyhow.

The good people of North London want to make an Eruv; Camden, parts of Finchley Road, Primrose Hill and Hampstead. They want to do this for religious reasons, so they can fool god into thinking that it's a private area.

I'm strongly opposed to this. I have two reasons.

1) They don't need an Eruv. I have had a divine revalation about this - all you need to do is draw a line on a map, and that creates an area that can function as an Eruv - we call this a Sollyruv. Plus, a Sollyruv is cheaper, and needs less maintenance.

2) People whose religion prohibits them from entering an Eruv, will be obstructed. This is not a physical obstruction, of course, but a spiritual obstruction. But we must respect religion, right?

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