Thursday, December 06, 2007

Microsoft Menorah in the Window (TM)

My neighbour has just put up Mezuzot on all the doors of the elevator (on every floor - don't even ask what the halachah is - (as Nike would say) just do it! Because apparently frumkeit is nothing to do with halachah or bein adam l'chaveiro).

That set me thinking. What other chumras are we lacking today? Specifically, what can we do to make our computers frumer?

By now I'm sure you all have your eMezuzah on your windows desktop.


(this program will place a Mezuzah (your choice of Ashkenazi or Sefardi) on your desktop (either angled or straight) which you can kiss whenever you feel the urge. It also shows the entire text of the Mezuzah in either English or Hebrew).

hat tip to Michael

The real question, though, is whether you can put a chanukiah (or menorah if you prefer) in your Microsoft Window (TM).

We all know that the Chanukiah should be placed in a window facing a public domain. Provided you are connected to the (kosher) internet, your window is now facing the biggest public domain in the history of the world. Presumably this would enable you to do mehadrin min hamehadrin MIN HAMEHADRIN!

However, there is a problem, because Rabbi Tanchum in the Talmud (Shabbat 22a) tells us that a menorah placed lower than 10 tefachim or higher than 20 amot is not kosher. Since the internet is viewed at all altitudes one may think that a virtual chanukiah is therefore not kosher.

But if you read the next line in the Talmud you see that Rabbi Tanchum also says that when Yosef's brothers threw him in the pit, the pit was empty of water, but full of snakes and scorpions.

This is clearly the earliest extant reference to the internet. The internet is empty of water, but is full of snakes and scorpions, and many other dangerous things as well. So it seems that the Talmud is giving specific dispensation for an internet menorah.

The obvious question that arises is when to light your menorah. It must be lit after dark (or just before), but in virtual reality there is no time (and furthermore, everyone who sees your menorah is in a different time zone).

Obviously for this we can rely on the Baal HaTanya in Kuntres Acharon who writes that the kedusha applies according to the time that you are in. Therefore in cyberspace we would use cybertime which is always dark (the sun never shines in cyberspace), so until the markets close should be fine (obviously refering to e-bay and as well as a host of others. This therefore seems to be a Talmudic way of saying 'when hell freezes over').

So, order yours today. For a modest fee you too can have a cyber menorah in your microsoft window!

Chanukah Sameach.

Bah! Humbug!

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