Switching electricity suppliers to get ‘kosher’ Sabbath power

Switching electricity suppliers to get ‘kosher’ Sabbath power

About 12 years ago I read a Telegraph report about an ultra-Orthodox Jewish electrician and father of 15 who was only ‘partially happy’ with a proposed £6-million scheme to provide ‘kosher’ electricity to religious neighbourhood in Israel. The scheme would involve non-Jews working for the electricity company on the Sabbath.

Arieh Moshkovitz, from Mea Shearim, in Jerusalem, wasn’t totally in agreement with the scheme. Why?

Because I’m sure Jews will still be supervising the Arabs at the electricity company on Sabbath.

Moshkovitz’s district had refused to use electricity supplied by Israel’s national electricity company. Instead they got their supplies from their own special generators.

It’s written in the Torah that Jews are not allowed to work on the Sabbath. Jews at the electric company work on the Sabbath to make the power, so we don’t use it.

To overcome the problem, said the Telegraph, Moshkovitz was:

One of an unlikely troop of ultra-orthodox electricians who have for years maintained generators to power religious districts on the Jewish day of rest.

Elad Sasi, from the Israeli infrastructure ministry, explained that “Sabbath-goys” would do the work.

We will automate some processes but we will also employ 150 non-Jews to work on the Sabbath.

Sasi said that the official production of kosher electricity would save lives, as the alternative homespun generators cause accidents.

We have wanted to close these generators for years, because the orthodox don’t have a licence to run them and they are dangerous. Instead of doing it by force, we have come up with a peaceful solution instead.

But the £6-million price tag led to complaints that Israel’s orthodox Jews were being pandered to by the government.

After reading that report, I asked a secular Jewish friend who called himself a “detribalised Jew”what he made of the issue. He shrugged his shoulders and said:

These people are meshugganah (crazy). Every time I see reports like this I want to bang my ahead against a brick wall.

All went quiet after that 2006 report, and I assumed that the scheme had been scrapped. But today, the Jewish Press revealed that MPs from the United Torah Judaism party are pressing for the establishment of small private power stations in ultra-Orthodox cities and neighborhoods, which would be cut off from the national grid on Saturdays.

Additional costs would reportedly be added to electricity bills paid by the general public.

Chairman of the Knesset Committee for Public Inquiries Rabbi Yisrael Eichler (United Torah Judaism), above, said that he has been working for years to automate the production and transmission of electricity to prevent the desecration of the Sabbath and reduce costs to the consumer.

Eichler claimed that only the enemies of Judaism would oppose any plan to prevent such desecration.

He also lashed out at those who suggested that secular Jews would have to bear the cost of the scheme. He claimed that he has already proved that plans to automate and privatise electricity generation would save precious manpower, most notably the unnecessary triple and quadruple “Saturday wages” paid out to employees.

The break-up and automation programs would only lower the cost to the consumer. Perhaps this is the reason for the tendentious incitement against ‘kosher’ electricity. There is no more effective weapon in the State of Israel than the cynical incitement that suggests secular Israelis pay more because of the Shabbat-observing Jew.

• The intro image was taken from an hysterically funny promotional video for a $25.00 (£18.88) “Sabbath” lightbulb:

One comment under the YouTube ad says:

Since there have been clear arguments that there is no violation of shabbat with electricity, this device is unnecessary …

Another responded:

What’s even more amazing is that in over 100 years there is STILL no rabbinical consensus as to what electricity actually is …

I have much more entertaining and technolocically advanced lightbulbs in my lounge and bathroom. They serve as bluetooth speakers that I can control with my iPhone, and cost me just €12.26 (£11.00) each.

19 responses to “Switching electricity suppliers to get ‘kosher’ Sabbath power”

  1. CoastalMaineBird says:

    If it’s a sin to work on the Sabbath, then why isn’t it a sin to use the result of someone’s Sabbath labor?
    Are you suppose to rush right out and kill ANYBODY who works on the Sabbath, or just kill a Jew who works on the Sabbath?

    I need a rulebook…

  2. Cali Ron says:

    Thanks Barry for shining a light on this obscure and totally silly ‘problem’. I have to give the award for most petty religion to the Jews who find the most ridiculous things to fret and worry over. Forget about the electricity, what about water and sewage? Are there not people working at sewage treatment plants, pumping stations, desalination plants, etc. Better not use the tap or toilet. What about the food? Did a farmer feed his livestock on the sabbath? Then they better not eat the food. This kind of tortured logic seems to fuel all religions to some degree, but the Jews have really refined it with wasteful redundancies like having 2 kitchens.

    Religion, making fools out of it’s followers for centuries.

  3. Cali Ron says:

    CoastalMaineBird: You can kill them for working on the sabbath, but can’t kill them on the sabbath, you have to wait for the next day and then kill them. Oh, and remember to only use a kosher blade or bullet.

  4. 1859 says:

    It is totally nuts – they even separate the sheets of loo paper the night before the sabbath so as to not do ‘work’ pulling them off to wipe the bums on the sabbath. Which, of course, begs the all-important question as to whether wiping one’s smelly arse constitutes ‘work’ on the sabbath? Or must they hold it in, constantly turtle-heading their stools until Sunday? Fucking mad!

  5. remigius says:

    ‘…constantly turtle-heading their stools until Sunday?’

    The Sabbath ends on Saturday, about tea-time. That’s when the sewers start getting clogged around Mea Shearim.

  6. Har Davids says:

    I like it when people are seriously taking the piss out of their own religion, proving they’re all bonkers.

  7. Johan says:

    Ones brain and entire nervous system work by electrochemical process so the condition of being alive is in contravention of the rule. Does that mean the only good Jew is a dead one?

  8. Paul says:

    This is shocking because how do they know the gas or oil that powers the electricity wasn’t produced on a sabbath. And the tiny sea creatures and vegetation that made those hydrocarbons weren’t, millions of years ago, made on a sabbath.

  9. Broga says:

    Nutters and hypocrites and nasty with it.

  10. Rockaway says:

    The human mind, the manifestation of an electro chemically powered bio-macroprocessor, is capable of the most amazing analyses and equally capable of locking onto notions that are patently just plain fucking crazy. One such genius mind, that of Nobel Laureate Richard Feynman, produced this amusing diatribe:-,_Mr._Feynman__Adventures_of_a_Curious_Character.html

    Feynman also said, when explaining the basis of scientific rigour, that you are the one most likely to fool yourself. Meaning that you are very capable of convincing yourself that something demonstrably false is actually irrefutably true and to hold that position fanatically in the face of contrary proof.

  11. barriejohn says:

    @1859: Jews are forbidden to “smooth out a solid (or semi-solid) object on Shabbat”, so maybe that answers your question!,2832/Can-I-brush-my-teeth-on-Shabbat.html

    Other “experts” advise that it’s OK to brush your teeth on the sabbath, but NOT to use running water to clean the brush. Could it get any more stupid?

  12. L.Long says:

    The original dimwits are still proving they are just as ignorant as they ever were! The only good thing I can think of is that isLame & fundy jews do make xtians look smart! But just looking at the BS these people do, really shows that they believe that their idiot gawd can be fooled by some weak work arounds! They should spend the entire sabbath in the dark, praying (which is a lot of work), fasting, and sitting in their own shit!

  13. Rob Andrews says:

    Exactly WHY can’t you work on the Sabbath? If it’s because you are to have a time of suffering and depravation, then having someone else or an automated system do the work is worse.

    Maybe you should suffer for the required time. And you must take care of newborn babies.

    This is what fear does! I think this is only meant to not increase material wealth. Such as conducting business.

  14. barriejohn says:

    Rob Andrews: It’s because God had had a very busy time of it for six days creating the earth, the heavens, and everything else that exists, and was in dire need of a rest, so he decreed, in his infinite wisdom, that EVERY seventh day thereafter should be a day of rest, on punishment of death. Nice chap, that Yahweh.

    Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. (Exodus 20:8-11)

  15. Broga says:

    Could there be better examples of how religion curdles the brain? I’m sure there are but I can’t think of any right now. On this site I think we may become so accustomed to these religious absurdities that an appreciation of the full weirdness of them is blunted.

    Step back and be entertained by the extraordinary nonsense placed before us. A nonsense propagated and insisted on by people, usually with thick beards, who view themselves as exemplars.

  16. Gui says:

    “We will automate some processes but we will also employ 150 non-Jews to work on the Sabbath.”

    “On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates.”

    The comandment is that even the servants must rest, so they are still violating it.

  17. barriejohn says:

    Gui: “Or your livestock”, so presumably, any cat attempting to bury its waste in a hygienic manner on the sabbath is also to be stoned to death!

  18. L.Long says:

    …Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God…”
    And other then some imaginary invention of man…what is the 1st day and when is the 7th???? Seems to me that the verse says nothing! Just start on any day and 6days later is the 7th! Or since the jews think their gawd is really an idiot, pick a day for #1 and at any point you like start counting all over again! The 7th day will never happen!