Two Heads of Lettuce

Simple recipes for vegetarian potlucks. Would you like to join the Two Heads of Lettuce team? Contact twoheadsoflettuce at gmail dot com.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Four table system!?

Dear two heads readers,
A friend of mine and I have started running nondenominational community potlucks in Philadelphia. We started in June and they have been growing very large (>100 ppl.). Of course, it was a no-brainer to use the two table system. But soon, Shabbat will be starting earlier, and for logistical reasons our potlucks will have to start after Shabbat starts. Philadelphia doesn't have an eruv. So, we're concerned about what to do with food that has been carried to the potluck after Shabbat has started. We'd like to make it so that people who feel that it's unhalachik to eat Shabbat carried food know what food they can eat. Dividing the food into four tables (carried veg, carried hechshered, un-carried veg, un-carried hechshered) seems overly complex. We were originally considering lumping hechshered with un-carried, but feel that this unnecessarily limits two of the four categories. We've recently started considering post-it noting everything that arrives before Shabbat. Do you think this is a good solution? Do you think there is another better solution?
Thank you for your help.
Sarah Chaya


At 10:49 AM, August 31, 2006, Blogger BZ said...

Welcome to Two Heads of Lettuce, SarahChaya!

I agree that four tables is too many and would ruin the simple elegance of the two-table system. If carrying is a concern, Post-Its might be the best way to go. But why is it a concern in the first place? I see why someone wouldn't carry on Shabbat, but what is the basis for not eating something that someone else carried? Does this change the essence of the food?

At 1:54 PM, August 31, 2006, Blogger Sarah Chaya said...

Thanks, BZ, I'm really excited to be here.

Carrying-- or for that matter cooking-- on Shabbat doesn't change the essence of the food, but it might change its permissibility on Shabbat. The issue at hand is an area of halacha in which I am not so well versed, benefiting from a Jew doing melacha on shabbat-- often called ma'aseh shabbos (I think).

There is a fairly long and interesting piece on it here:

Particularly relevant are the potential differences between a dish being carried on shabbat and a dish being cooked on Shabbat (both of which could be issues at a potluck that starts at 7 when Shabbos starts at 4), and the comments on the how the halacha might change with the regularity of the practice.

I think that the post-it note solution works on two levels. 1) It allows people to avoid shabbat carried/cooked food. And 2) By announcing that we are using post-its, I think we are stating that Shabbat carrying/cooking is not a community norm, but rather carrying/cooking is in the realm of something that some members of the community think is permissible and others think is forbidden. Thus we might avoid some halachic problems by saying that we are not an event that encourages (or discourages) carrying.

Sarah Chaya

At 10:36 AM, September 03, 2006, Anonymous Desh said...

What would be the logistics of the post-its? Would every food item be tagged with information about whether it was carried on Shabbat? Or only things that weren't carried? Or only things that were? I can see problems with all three methods. (Though I think the second option is the best combination of least potentially offensive and least logistically problematic.)

At 3:54 PM, September 05, 2006, Blogger Sarah Chaya said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 3:59 PM, September 05, 2006, Blogger Sarah Chaya said...

we figured someone could just postit anything that was in the building right before shabbat starts.


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