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The 25 best Jewish loopholes

WigsLook, if Judaism wasn’t full of tricks, shortcuts, and loopholes, I’m pretty sure that the religion would have died already. One of the reasons that Judaism has survived, is because you can pretty much find a way out of anything, as long as you look a certain way no one will really ever question what you do at home (except for whether or not you have filtered internet for business purposes only) What would we do without mezonos bread, heicha kedusha, and pilegesh?

1) Heicha Kedusha: Normally the amidah (shemona esrei for you frummies) is said twice, once silently and once out loud. Ever so often (especially in small towns) the minyan is a bit late and the rabbi clops the bimah and says “Heicha Kedusha” at which point the chazzan davens out loud until kedusha and then everyone continues quietly. This has got to be one of my favorite events in shul, it saves so much time – I was once at a superbowl party in Dallas and they did this because they needed to say mincha before the game was to start.

2) Ending Bentching at al yichasreinu: My old man says he picked it up in Chaim Berlin, my rosh yeshiva in Rochester also does it and many folks I know end bentching at al yichasreinu instead of saying those long lists of harachamuns.

3) Making up fast days: I always thought that the point of fast days was to commemorate someone or God trying to kill us on a specific day, but I’m down with making up fast days for all those times I have been eating lunch and looking at my facebook home page only to see everyone talking about how hungry they are.

4) Eruv: Although Eruv has got to be one of the dumbest loopholes in Judaism – we Jews can’t seem to live without the string, it makes or breaks communities and saves a lot of folks a lot of money from hiring illegal immigrants to push their children to shul. I never understood how work can go to non-work just from placing a few strings connecting power lines and getting the city council to sign off on it, but I’m not sure I want to question the madness much.

5) Pilegesh: Let’s say you’re having trouble with the whole niddah thing, two weeks without sex is a bit much, so why not hire a concubine to fulfill your desires and maybe she’ll even let you do her with the lights on.

6) Pruzbol: If only we could force the Judeo-Christian US government to adopt the policy of pruzbol, we would all be debt free every 50 years or so. That’s right folks, every Yovel you get released of your debts – though I’m sure the shylock creditors being the hook nosed bastards they are must have coerced the Rabbis to make a loophole in their favor. Wait is pruzbol even a loophole? It sounds like halacha to me.

7) Eruv Tavshilin: Preparing on shabbos for a holiday that comes out right after shabbos is not allowed unless you make some sort of meal or set aside two loaves or matzos before shabbos to be eaten after shabbos. It never made sense to me, but not having to say nisht shabbos geredt constantly while you prepare for yuntiff is worthwhile.

8) Breaking sefira for work: So you’re not supposed to shave, but it’s cool if you have a job that doesn’t allow you to practice your religion openly.

9) Kol Isha Loopholes: Kol Isha is assur, but according to many modern orthodox (Read: not really frum, but think they are) authorities you can listen to women singing if it’s not live, you do not know what they look like, or it’s in duet form. I’m down with kol isha and I promise that of all the meals I have been to at which women were singing, I never once lost control of my inhibitions, though I have heard some sexy Tzur Mishelo’s in my day.

10) Sheitles: When you get married a magical thing happens to women, their hair gets turned into ervah, it becomes sexual and the husband is the only one who gets to see it. The rest of the world gets to see the fake, usually sexy, mostly expensive, never damaged, modest wig, while the husband gets stuck with the crud. The sheitle may be the single most ridiculous Jewish loophole there is.

11) Post netilas yedayim communication: Just because you can’t talk between washing for hamotzi and eating bread, doesn’t mean we cannot communicate with grunts, hand motions and obnoxious sounding Yiddish words said out of clenched mouths that remind me of constipation – UHH and NU are not counted as words and therefore allowed.

12) Dividing the fast after dropping the torah: If there’s one event I want to be at in orthodoxy, it’s a crowded shul where a Torah drops and where everyone divides up the fast, so we all have to wait the equivalent of 2 hours – because I sure as hell aint doing no Ramadan by myself. I have only heard from one person I know who witnessed the Torah drop, in fact he was at a Reform shul where the ladies laining were too busy tweeting their progress and the Torah rolled off the bimah – I’m sure the Rabbi came up with a loophole for that one.

13) Potatoes on Pesach:They should have been banned, but prior to out chumra loving and rampant banning post war rabbis we had folks with brains on their heads who decided that banning potatoes was just too much – shame they couldn’t do the same with the internet.

14) Recorded Music during sefira: It gets debated every year, but since recorded music wasn’t mentioned in the gemara it’s cool. Some folks say it’s not part of our mesorah and they didn’t have recorded music at sinai (Can you imagine the sound guys checking the thunder and smoke machines?) many people argue that recorded music isn’t really counted as music.

15) Acapella during sefira: If there are no instruments it isn’t really music, especially if the music is so bad it’s torturous to listen to it anyway.

16) Selling your chometz to a goy: I really want to know if any of the folks who bought chometz ever walked into the house and took out all the booze, no one can confirm that this has actually happened and in my mind the chometz sale is such a scam it makes me smile. I guess it’s good for the restaurant I work at, or else I wouldn’t have a job after pesach.

17) Fast of the first born: It’s erev pesach and you have to fast if you happen to be a first born – I am – so you wake your sorry ass up at an ungodly hour to attend a siyum and eat really crappy pesach cake made out of potato starch.

18) Siyum for Meat: You cannot eat meat during the 9 days unless a restaurant hires someone to make a siyum every night and this is precisely what plenty of kosher restaurants do, seems like a loophole scam to me. It should be about the siyum, but instead they have siyum factories where there is one siyum after another. I guess that’s what they mean by not learning Torah lishmah.

19) Flower pot mechitzas: Not sure who had the bright idea, but flower pot mechitzas and tree mechitzas are one of the best features of weddings, because you can look through without staring. I wouldn’t call them kosher, but I’ve noticed that when the flower pot mechitzas are up, there is always that one frummy dude who simply refuses to eat because of the visible pritzus destroying his seudas mitzvah.

20) Suppositories on Yom Kippur: (the fellow who posted this on FB also said “I shit you not”) and yes I know people who take a caffeine suppository before Yom Kippur. In my opinion, Yom Kippur is a time to suffer and part of that suffering is not being able to blow your load, smoke, or have a coffee.

21) Shabbos goy: Sure, I feel pretty stupid “hinting” to my very goyishe (probably never knew from Jews) neighbor, but she’s saved our shabbos by turning off the fridge light, turning on the crockpot, or moving our guests wrongly parked car. Our hints are more like pleads, but she’s getting the hang of it by now. The ethical dilemma lies in the debate of whether or not it’s appropriate to give your shabbos goy a gift for their services.

22) Kli Shlishi: This is one of those instances where we leave it to the rabbis and pray that the poskim never decide to learn about science or logic. Hey, it allows me to have coffee on shabbos morning, even though I’m not sure why already roasted coffee beans need to go through the kli shlishi loophole for cooking already cooked things on shabbos.

23) Battul v’shishim: I’m pretty sure that if we didn’t have this loophole, the kasharus industry wouldn’t turn a profit. We also have a mesorah to eat something because in the shtetl when the cat jumped into the community cholent, it was ruled to be battul v’shishim.

24) Shabbos key belts: You can’t chew gum, have a detachable hood, or carry a tissue outside of an eruv, but somehow a shabbos key belt which is only for keys and shabbos as somehow become the norm. I think it’s a faulty loophole, but I guess people need to get into their homes.

25) Mezonos bread: Sure it’s BS, but if not for all these BS loopholes and shortcuts, Judaism would be too hard for many us to do. I heard once that mezonos bread saves over a million hours a year in bittul Torah. So next time you criticize someone for not wanting to wash, just remember all the saved time and added learning that came out of it.

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{ 154 comments… add one }
  • Anonymous January 2, 2014, 7:19 AM

    Best post Ever! Is this a copy paste? too good……

  • Michael January 2, 2014, 7:56 AM

    Great post – but I think that you mis-described Pruzbol.

    A pruzbol is nothing to do with Yuval, it is to do with Shmitta – at the end of every Shmitta all debts (between people) are cancelled, so if you have money in a Jewish-Owned bank (e.g., in Israel), and you think that they owe you all that money that you deposited, guess what, if you don’t sign a Pruzbol the money is theirs to keep (reverse would be true if they owed you money, i.e., you had a loan)
    Don’t worry -all Israeli banks sign a Pruzbol so you still have to repay your mortgage (bummer)

    A Pruzbol transfers your debt to a Beit Din at the moment that shmitta ends and the debt is cancelled – Debts to beit Din aren’t cancelled by Shmita. Afterwards the Beit Din transfers the debt back to their original owner so everyone is happy (except the guy who still needs to pay back his mortgage)

    Still – this is probably the original halachic loophole, dating back to the Mishna (I think)

  • Nate January 2, 2014, 7:59 AM

    This is surely one of the greatest posts.

    I recommend an expansion of the list based on all the things people post in the comments that Heshy forgot.

    Not that I’m throwing shade at Heshy. There are way too many loopholes to remember on the first pass.

    Only ones I can think of right now? Being able to do Havdalah until Tuesday, “eating one slice of pizza,” various no tachnun scenarios, various scenarios that allow borer on shabbas, eating a sandwich without touching the bread, etc.

    I’m sure there are more.

    • Heshy Fried January 2, 2014, 10:07 AM

      Here’s how it works, in the middle of writing a post, I usually go on FB to ask for other ideas to add to it, most of those ideas were already on the post.

      • Nate January 2, 2014, 11:08 AM

        That makes sense. Could you send me a link to the comment thread that sparked this post?

        Also, I thought of two more: Yiush and being able to do Tashlich until Hoshana Rabba.

      • Anonymous January 6, 2014, 5:00 AM

        No less original
        That’s what art is

  • Joe Q. January 2, 2014, 8:02 AM

    For people living in Eretz Yisroel, Heter Mechira has to be a biggie.

    • Ben Waxman January 3, 2014, 1:53 AM

      no, for people in eretz yisrael the idea that learning torah gets you out of serving in the army is the biggie. heter michira is once every 7 years. getting out of the army is 24/7/365.

      • Anonymous January 3, 2014, 5:36 AM

        Well said Ben

        • Anonymous January 5, 2014, 11:10 PM

          for people not living in eretz yisrael, the ‘parnassah’ excuse when they’ve never once applied for a job in israel.

  • Anonymous January 2, 2014, 8:03 AM

    No list is complete without “tuos akum”!!! Just imagine life without it. No more taking advatage of mispriced t-shirts, ticket glitches, etc. etc. etc.

    • Anonymous January 3, 2014, 9:21 AM

      yes – well that is abhorrent that you think its different for akum and jews – and nothing to be proud of. not all things you think you are allowed to do should you do.

  • Think For Yourself January 2, 2014, 8:38 AM

    Great post. Man when you really look at Orthodox Judiasm, it really its such a silly invention of man. Lets move on.

    • David Staum January 2, 2014, 9:02 AM

      Of course it’s an invention of man. That doesn’t mean it’s silly. I subscribe to the “sacred by virtue of tradition” philosophy.

      • David Staum January 2, 2014, 9:04 AM

        and by that, I mean sacred to me. I don’t believe it’s binding on anyone else – people have a right to autonomous choice in the matter of whether to follow halacha and to what degree. I just mean that it works for me and is meaningful, despite its man-made nature.

        • Off the OJ January 2, 2014, 10:25 AM

          Nice heresy!

        • Think For Yourself January 2, 2014, 10:39 AM

          Kefira. I agree though. Rituals have their place and man-endowed power. Its when they enter the realm of superstitious cause/effect that they are silly.

  • David Staum January 2, 2014, 9:00 AM

    I agree, great post. But eruv tavshilin is about preparing and cooking for Shabbat on yom tov, not the other way around. Usually you can only cook on Yom Tov for the same day, but when Shabbat comes on the 2nd day or right after Yom Tov, you can cook on Yom Tov in preparation for Shabbat. Preparing for Yom Tov on Shabbat is still assur.

  • Anonymous January 2, 2014, 9:10 AM

    Re #10, sheitels, how dare you write such a thing? Sheitels are demure and modest, covering up hair that drives men to be animals!

    For example, see how modest and aidel this bas yisroel sheitels are: http://www.lingeriediva.com/wigs?gclid=CPvbqur937sCFeJF7AodLQYAuw

    • michael January 2, 2014, 11:22 AM

      No idea what that link lead to, but it was blocked by my filter, so I’m guessing there was exposed hair or something 🙂

    • Tania January 2, 2014, 11:26 AM

      They forgot to add some zeros to their prices…

    • Dumpster Diva January 5, 2014, 1:00 PM

      Those are some fetching sheitels. The prices must be wholesale!

  • David Staum January 2, 2014, 9:11 AM

    Re #10, sheitels, how dare you write such a thing? Sheitels are demure and modest, covering up hair that drives men to be animals!

    For example, see how modest and aidel this bas yisroel sheitels are: http://www.lingeriediva.com/wigs?gclid=CPvbqur937sCFeJF7AodLQYAuw

  • David Staum January 2, 2014, 9:22 AM

    Re: #23, batel b’shishim – It’s precisely because the kashrut industry DOES NOT depend on this (straightforward halacha, BTW, not a heter) that it makes a profit, charging factories a fortune to make sure that machinery is dipped in molten lava between runs to make sure that not even one subatomic particle of milk or meat remains.

    • David Staum January 2, 2014, 9:26 AM

      Otherwise, we’d all just look up stuff on kashrut dot org, and hechsher organizations like the OU wouldn’t exist.

    • Heshy Fried January 2, 2014, 10:08 AM

      Well they have to have a business model you know. The mafia tactics don’t always get everyone to sign up for the scam.

  • Harryer than them all January 2, 2014, 10:08 AM

    Double-wrapping food to put in the microwave at work (my boss thinks this is completely made up)

    • Heshy Fried January 2, 2014, 10:23 AM

      if you look around you’ll find that you don’t even need to kasher a microwave, or an oven for that matter.

      Not sure where this whole kashering of the oven came from, asked my Rav and he told me that it’s next to impossible to ever need to kasher an oven/

      • Nat bar Nat January 2, 2014, 11:50 AM

        Uh oh, someone has learned too much. A local Yeshivish rav told me the same thing: almost all modern ovens (including microwaves) are vented, which allows steam to escape.

      • Sam R January 2, 2014, 5:35 PM

        Who’s your rav?

      • SDK January 16, 2014, 10:10 AM

        Between glass and the microwave, life could be a lot easier, but unlike the list above, those two are for some reason considered crazy kulot, only used by Conservative Jews or BTs who have not yet arrived.

  • Anonymous January 2, 2014, 10:47 AM

    Here’s the thing about Judaism. It treats God like an agent of the IRS, rather than a parent or teacher.

    The IRS doesn’t care why you do something or what your intent is. It doesn’t even necessarily care how much you pay in taxes. It cares only that you have complied with every jot of its 10 billion page code. Naturally, however, you are welcome to use the finest lawyers to work the code to your advantage as best you can, since that is an acceptable part of legal compliance.

    The difference is that there is a limit to what the IRS can do to you, whereas there is no limit to what God can do to you. Furthermore, there is a lot the IRS can never know, wherea God is omniscent. So you always want to be on the super-super-safe side in following the “God” code unless the lawyers completely convince you that a given loophole has been tested and approved in the courts. If there is any difference of opinion, you would be best to seek a second (or third) opinion and err on the side of compliance.

    This, of course, puts Judaism, at stage one (“Obedience and Punishment”) of Kohlberg’s six stages of moral development.

    • Reason January 2, 2014, 11:11 AM

      Very well said

    • The Hedyot January 2, 2014, 2:10 PM

      Great analogy.

    • Michael January 2, 2014, 3:15 PM

      Are you equally cynical about the “laws of nature”?

      Incidentally, gravity generally prevents people from flying, but recently scholars have also developed some workarounds.

      Unlike the IRS or any “authority figure” you’ve ever encountered, G-d is complete and lacks nothing – the opportunity to live in the wisdom of Torah is a *Blessing* that was granted for the benefit of Israel, as a heritage from our ancestors who were Tzaddikim (which is a concept impossible to understand for somebody who rejects Torah).

      Nobody’s holding a gun to your head to perform Mitzvot! You’re perfectly free to be like anybody else who thinks they know better. In fact, the Torah was obviously designed to be rejected by know-it-alls who bow to the authority of their own limited comprehensions.

      Not that you cared that your “enlightened” rejection of G-d’s Torah was intended to diminish the actuality of G-d, but in any case don’t worry it wasn’t G-d that was diminished.

      • Anonymous January 2, 2014, 4:08 PM

        It’s not a question of whether or not the Torah was intended to be a blessing. We may completely assume that it was/is. It’s a question of how rabbinic Judaism has interpreted the Torah and particularly how that interpretation has resulted in warping the relationship between God and man into a relationship between IRS agent and tax advisor.

        • 4r3 January 7, 2014, 5:58 PM

          There is no one set of rabbinic jewish ideology. Open up a Talmud, which talks a lot abut the fact that ‘rachmana libe boye’ which means that God mainly wants your heart.

      • Anonymous January 2, 2014, 5:10 PM

        You are feeling yourself.

    • A Tax Lawyer January 2, 2014, 5:11 PM

      That is not entirely correct, re the IRS. There is a concept of substance over form, which is often used to look through attempts to use technicalities to avoid taxes.

      • Another tax lawyer January 2, 2014, 6:06 PM

        But taxpayers may be bound to their form, whereas the IRS is not… I think the prior poster was driving more towards the concept of the statute of limitations. If the IRS doesn’t catch you in 3 years, then you are in the clear. However, with Hashem, the statute of limitations never closes. Add in various caveats for bad acts where you properly show penitence and beg for teshuvah on YK.

        • Pinchas January 2, 2014, 9:19 PM

          “The IRS doesn’t care why you do something or what your intent is. I”

          Tell that to the Tea Party (and Jewish) groups that had the IRS asking for their memberships READING LIST AND PRAYER ACTIVITIES, and crushed their ability to fundraise in the last election.


    • Shlomo January 3, 2014, 2:27 AM

      “This, of course, puts Judaism, at stage one (“Obedience and Punishment”) of Kohlberg’s six stages of moral development.”

      Or just as plausibly, stage six, in which behavior is driven by perceived abstract principles.

      I think Modern Orthodox education from the high school level up, as well as some charedi post-high-school education plus what a large fraction of charedim personally believe in practice, tends strongly toward stage six. Of course elementary education focuses on stage one, and the “intermediate” stages make their appearance at various points in all communities.

  • anonymous January 2, 2014, 10:48 AM

    btw the eruv tavshilin is so you can cook on yom tov for shabbos….

  • Talia bat Pessi January 2, 2014, 10:48 AM

    All of my non-Jewish roommates think that the concept of eruv is hilarious. It didn’t even occur to me how loopholey it was until they asked me if I was being serious. One of them timidly asked me whether or not frum women wear wigs because they shave their heads and when I told her that very few shave their heads got into a tizzy that she was being stereotypical or prejudiced or something.

    • Think For Yourself January 2, 2014, 11:12 AM

      Yea all our man-made laws are pretty silly. Sometimes I wish Ezra did not write them all down but those darn Pharisees….

  • AztecQueen2000 January 2, 2014, 11:28 AM

    Re 5: Just make sure your pilegesh doesn’t live in the same house as your wife. Not only because of the jealousy factor, but because an interesting thing happens to women who live together–their cycles sync up. That’s just what a guy needs–two women who can’t stand each other going through PMS at the same time.
    I agree about the sheitels. It’s why I use cloth head covers almost exclusively.
    A cappella sefirah music is awful. But then again, so is most of what passes for Jewish music today. Besides, sefirah in the Torah was never designated as a time of mourning. That came later. Much, much later.

  • MESA January 2, 2014, 1:49 PM

    This whole thing is adorable, but in all seriousness, this is one of the reasons I cover my hair with berets and mitpachot. I can’t stand shaytls for myself.

    • KaysMom January 2, 2014, 8:50 PM

      Me too! I too am totally anti-wig. I cant think of another halacha where its ‘ok to look like you are not complying’. Usually that gets into issues of ‘marit ayin’ and such… but not for wigs – I dont get it.

      • Shmuel January 2, 2014, 9:18 PM

        Sincerely interested – in Israel shaytels are considered to be less frum than a tichel or a scarf, and this is probably the best example of a large tzibur that constantly totally disregards its rabbis rulings. Outside chabad there is not a single posek that permits a wig

        In the USA do the hareidi rabbis posek differently?

    • JB January 6, 2014, 10:35 PM

      I, too, use hats and scarves. I hate that it’s acceptable to show an often sexy, perfect image to everyone else, and the husband gets to see hat hair? How is it possible that we could have come to this???

  • The Hedyot January 2, 2014, 1:59 PM

    No heter mechira?

  • The Hedyot January 2, 2014, 2:03 PM

    There have actually been some rare cases of the goy taking off with the chametz. See here for one such story: http://www.vosizneias.com/82022/2011/04/22/jerusalem-charedim-find-gentile-chametz-buyer-has-taken-it/

  • zach January 2, 2014, 2:29 PM

    Doing an issur melacha with a shinui…

    • Anonymous January 2, 2014, 9:51 PM

      Like that article about getting your cat to turn the light switch off.

  • Anonymous January 2, 2014, 3:15 PM

    Re. #17

    There are actually some that not only have a loophole, they instead completly destroy it. The custom is based on ???? ??????, which says “??????? ??????”. Along comes Rabbi Zevi Hirsh of Zidachov, a famous Rebbe a student of the Rebbe of Lublin, and says “???? ????”, scribal error, it was meant to read “??????? ???????”, the first born should enjoy themselves. Explaining further as a yom tov celebrating them being saved from the fate of the Egyptian first born.

    • Anonymous January 2, 2014, 3:24 PM

      There are actually some that not only have a loophole, they instead completly destroy it. The custom is based on Masechet Sofrim, which says “Habechorim MisaNim” the first born fast. Along comes Rabbi Zevi Hirsh of Zidachov, a famous Rebbe a student of the Rebbe of Lublin, and says “Taut Sofer ”, scribal error, it was meant to read “Habechorim MisanGim”, the first born should enjoy themselves. Explaining further as a Yom Tov celebrating them being saved from the fate of the Egyptian first born.

  • Doobie January 2, 2014, 3:16 PM

    What about gezel hagoy as a license to commit all sorts of fraud and thieving?

    • Sherlock Holmes January 2, 2014, 7:27 PM

      Where is “gezel hagoy” allowed in halacha?

      • Anonymous January 3, 2014, 2:43 AM

        Yeah, because properly understood halacha is clearly the actual basis of any part of this post (I think the only thing which can legitimately be called a loophole is prozbul).

        • Sherlock Holmes January 3, 2014, 7:52 AM

          Whatever, genius.

          • Sherlock Holmes January 3, 2014, 7:59 AM

            Anonymous: I think you’re correct though, :).

  • Almost, but not quite January 2, 2014, 7:54 PM

    I agree with you in theory but you gotta be careful if you’re going to make such a statement. Most specifically, you confused what an eruv tavshilin is – it allows you to prepare on Yom Tov for Shabbos, acts which are inherently permissible but usually only for that day, and NOT the other way around. There is no loophole yet that allows you to prepare food (or anything else for that matter) on Shabbat for after Shabbat. Also, Kli Shlishi is necessary for tea (and coffee) because they are considered to be kalei habishul, things that are easily cooked. Other things that fall into this category include spices and herbs. It is still a little bit of a loophole still, as there is no guarantee that after the transfers the liquid is truely below yad soledet bo, but the principle still must be entirely understood before making such a generalization.
    A lot of these “loopholes” also have a function you neglect to mention. When, in a small town, you really may have to wait till the last minute to get a minyan, better starting at kedusha than not being able to daven at all. Betching only till al yichasreinu is actually an established minhag (mine included) having to due with the issue of having bakasha in your tefilot on Shabbat. One you remove the harachamans from bentching on Shabbat, consistency says remove them from the week as well. Pilegesh is definitely a loophole – but the loophole which allows one to marry an eved k’na’anit, a woman who is no longer allowed to marry a goy, but is technically an eved, and kiddushin aren’t tofes. Sheitel’s while controversial, are not a loophole. They are discussed outright in the Gemara, and are defined by some Rishonim as being perfectly acceptable. Fully understanding this issue requires research into the overall topic, not a quick glance generalization. Talking post-netilat yadayim is actually completely permissible. The real issue is making your hands tamei, which people conveniently ignore. The idea is that by not talking, you eliminate the distractions that may bring you to sully your hands. Also, more problematic than talking after washing is talking during Torah reading, another halachic guideline conveniently ignore by most. You do have some fair point, and the idea overall is a fair one, but i think a little bit of honesty and integrity is necessary, and a full presentation of the idea is necessary. Otherwise you risk sounding ignorant at best, and arrogant at worst. Keep writing – you clearly have much of great import to say, just maybe consider thinking it through a little more next time.

  • Nissim January 2, 2014, 8:15 PM

    You do not need a Kli Shlishi for making coffee. As you mentioned, they are already roasted so it is not a problem.

    • DRosenbach January 5, 2014, 11:25 AM

      While instant coffee, sugar, milk and lemon juice are generally either cooked or pasteurized, coffee creamer is generally not, and so a kli shlishi might still be required if the coffee/tea is yad soledes, depending on what you’re adding.

  • KaysMom January 2, 2014, 8:52 PM

    I never heard of the Siyim for Meat during the 9 days… is that real.
    I know that if sefardim have a brit during the 9 days they can have meat, but Ashkenazim are not supposed to partake.

    • Shmuel January 2, 2014, 9:11 PM

      I believe that chabad have a masoret from MM to have a Siyum every day during the nine (actually 8) days and to dafke eat meat then to make the days from mourning to yomtov

      • Anonymous January 4, 2014, 10:07 PM

        Actually, the Chabad minhag is to make a siyum every day of the nine days (and even continue until 15 Av), but still not to eat meat.

  • Richie Sevrinsky January 2, 2014, 9:39 PM

    You’ve overlooked the biggest loophole of them all:

    Heter Iska – Without heter iska, nearly any loan, mortgage, credit card, or investment violates a clear Torah prohibition of interest-bearing loans (ribbit/ribbis). Life without heter iska would be impossible, particularly in Israel.

    What’s more, as opposed to some of the loopholes on this list that are frowned upon by some parts of the Orthodox community, practically everyone relies on heter iska, all the way to the most extreme Haredim.

  • Abe January 3, 2014, 3:09 AM

    What more can one expect from a religion which believes that the word of rabbis supercedes the word of God. I gave up on religion when I learned the Gemara about Rabbi Eliezer.

  • Yserbius January 3, 2014, 5:35 AM

    Heicha Kedusha: Yeah. Great example. It’s a din d’rabonon that’s more of a minhag that can easily be whittled down.
    Benching up until Al Yechasraynu: The Harachamans are technically just tefilos said after benching.
    Made up fast days: Wat?
    Eruvs: Not a loophole. An Eruv only subverts a Reshus HaRabim D’Rabonnon. So the same Rabbonim who said not to carry here said “but you can carry here if you put up a string etc.”
    Pilegesh: What issur is that a loophole around? It’s something directly from the Torah that’s now assur d’Rabbonon due to exactly what he says.
    Pruzbul: He completely misunderstands what a Pruzbul is.
    Eruv Tavshilin: See (4)
    Breaking Sefira: Loophole born out of necessity. Not to be used unless needed, not wanted.
    Kol Isha: Yeah, those are loopholes. Which is why you’d be hard pressed to find an Orthodox Rabbi who allows them.
    Sheitels: Have to somewhat agree on that. Sheitels are a weird sort of situation. Considered assur when they came out, they only gradually became accepted. Chassidim insist on a hat covering the sheitel, so as to point out that it’s a sheitel. Many non-Ashkenazim and Yerushalmers still don’t hold of it.
    Uh. Nuh, tsh tsh: Not a loophole. Outright assur unless it has to do with kiddush or hamotzi.
    Dividing up a fast: Most shuls appoint someone to fast the whole thing if the guy who dropped it is unwilling.
    Potatoes: Kitniyos is a chumra. Potatoes would be a chumra on a chumra.
    Recorded Music during Sefira: See (9)
    Acapella During Sefira: Guilty as charged. Most Rabbonim claim it’s only muttar because everyone would listen to regular music otherwise.
    Selling Chametz to a goy: Like an eruv, most Rabbonim won’t sell chametz gamor.
    Fast of the Bachor: Minhag
    Siyum for Meat: See (9). What restaurants exactly do you eat by, Heshy? Most close during the 9 days.
    Flower Pot Mechitzas: Only applicable for people who don’t really care about mechitzas to begin with.
    Suppositories on Yom Kippur: Assur, in all likelihood.
    Shabbos goy: See (8). You don’t get to decide when you can use a goy.
    Kli Shlishi: The particulars and reasons behind that are discussed in a thousand thousand seforim that Heshy never bothered reading before writing this.
    Batul B’Shishim: Only b’di’eved, only when not nosein ta’am l’shvach. Not a loophole.
    Shabbos Key Belts: Very questionable according to most poskim.
    Mezonos Bread: Which you still have to make a hamotzi on if eaten like regular bread. Even Wiltons airline food stopped bothering with it after the Rav HaMachshir insisted on putting in the notice “Even though this is mezonos, you still must make hamotzi”

  • Abe January 3, 2014, 8:00 AM

    His about this for an all encompassing loophole.

    ‘Torah is not in heaven……. My children have defeated me’.

  • s(b.) January 3, 2014, 8:47 AM

    Great job! 🙂

  • dev January 3, 2014, 10:50 AM

    also the loophole of how kol isha doesnt apply to a girl singing in front of a non-jew.

  • Michaltastik January 3, 2014, 12:13 PM

    You forgot about having your kids turn your lights off and stuff because they aren’t bar/bas mitzvahed or below the age of chinuch.

  • Zwe Zwe January 4, 2014, 10:02 AM

    I think the best one of all is the Kesef Mishna’s special dispensation to recieve payment from the community for learning / teaching Torah. Today, some hold that it is forbidden to be machmir and not rely on this loophole. Once who does so is digging the grave of Torah and not as the Rambam held “turning the Torah in to a spade to dig with”.

  • MiMedinat HaYam January 4, 2014, 9:54 PM

    I ‘m new here but those “sheitels ” posted do not qualify as loopholes. They are too cheap. Any wig under $50 cannot be “kosher “.

    As for your other loopholes — face it. Its being practicsl.

    “Hoiche kefusha ” is actually standard procedure in BMG in lakewood (bitul torah)

  • MiMedinat HaYam January 4, 2014, 10:03 PM

    BMG hoiche kedusha even if no time pressures. No MO yeshiva would do that unless the particular rebbe went to lakewood.

    The “chayeh odom ” opposed potatoes for pesach. I guarantee you his grandchildren are eating potatoes today.taped “kol isha ” even ROvadia Yosef z “l permitted it. A capella music is perfectly Ok, as only (certain 🙂 musical instruments are forbodden. Yes, i prefer all instriments and tapes be banned at weddings, etc.

  • MiMedinat HaYam January 4, 2014, 10:13 PM

    Shabbat goy — having him turn on crock pot, moving car, or shut fridge lite is no good. The s.g. had to be doing it for himself, with the jew only side benefitting. You have to give him some scotch from the fridge, so he benefits r too.

    Mezonot bread — actually, i have an issue with you eating babka (for example) which is the same thing, flavored bread.

  • yosef shomron January 4, 2014, 11:43 PM

    great post – nice to see in print about the sheitals and mechirat chametz. Speaking of loopholes – I’d like to see a post of all the reasons used to avoid fulfulling the mitzva of yishuv haaretz (living in the Land of Israel).

  • Mark January 5, 2014, 7:28 AM

    You forgot colored panties…

  • Perhaps January 5, 2014, 7:33 AM

    An important caveat:

    All of the listed heteronym are for derabanans: when the rabbis enacted laws they allowed work arounds or other heters under given circumstances
    It’s part of the enacted law

    None of these are for deorysas
    Even Eruv which is a biblical heter is limited to exclude rishus harsbim deorysa–

    • zach January 5, 2014, 2:44 PM

      Last I heard “Bal yera’eh u-val yimatzeh” was a d’oriash. The prohibition to have it in one’s possession is mentioned TWICE (Shmot 12:15 and Dvarim 16:4). Being able to keep (sold) chametz in your house over Pesach is clearly a rabbinic loophole to a Torah prohibition.

      • perhaps January 7, 2014, 4:36 AM

        I forgot some sell chametz mamash, my bad.

  • Perhaps January 5, 2014, 9:16 AM

    Except pruzbul

  • Abe January 5, 2014, 9:18 AM

    Judaism has died out. Been replaced with rabbinism.

    • Spinoza January 16, 2014, 10:51 AM

      and that should be replaced with humanism so that we can actually do some good in this world.

  • Bristlenose January 5, 2014, 9:38 AM

    “..but according to many modern orthodox (Read: not really frum, but think they are)”

    How divisive it *that*? Please explain why you wrote it it.

    Thanks, have a good week.

  • tzfatisha January 5, 2014, 3:03 PM

    A few years ago some superfrum guys in Beit Shemesh didn’t trust the rabbinut sale of chometz so they made their own deal for a token amount with someone and during pessach the goy came into their houses and took all their whisky … which was worth a lot more than the price they’d.agreed for the chometz

  • Minucha January 5, 2014, 7:59 PM

    I didn’t know you could make up fast days!

  • dave January 6, 2014, 2:27 PM

    your post was really funny and i enjoyed reading it, but it shows how ignorant you are – no offense…

  • A. Nuran January 6, 2014, 9:33 PM

    Plastic-bagging yourself on the airplane to prevent defilement if you fly over a cemetery

  • SDK January 16, 2014, 11:00 AM

    Hechi kedushah for shabbat mussaf is now so standard in C shuls that if I tried to do a full repetition, I think they would start throwing eggs at the bimah. Everyone would accuse me of trying to drag the shul to the right or ask me why I have to be so religious, nu, it’s time to eat. Saying that you want to sing yismechu is not a valid reason. But don’t tell anyone. Because if anyone finds out that C shuls use hechi kedushah, it will immediately become assur for anyone who wants to be any kind of frum …

  • Anonymous January 19, 2014, 3:39 PM

    Check out this site: http://www.rabbibrand.022.co.il/
    The author discusses many of the items on the list, and rejects them for similar reasons.

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