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May 27, 2008

This chimney looks too narrow for Hannukah Harry

This (seen below) strange "chimney" recently went up in the neighborhood. I asked around a bit what it is and I was told that the generator is located on the premises of the shul beneath it, and neighbors had been complaining about the smell and noise of the generator as it was being released right near their windows. So the management of the generator, so I am told, installed this chimney which releases the exhaust at a point that is higher than any of the surrounding buildings and apartments. (this is based on what I was told. If you have more knowledge about the chimney and my information was incorrect, please let me know).

Here are 2 pictures of the "chimney" so you can have some perspective. The first is angled up, so the height of it compared to the building is noticeable, but might be considered deceptive because of the angle. So I took the second from a distance so you can see how it rises over the buildings around it.

The newspaper had a little piece yesterday about a court decision against the city of Bnei Brak.

The court decided against the city of BB and the mayor, and obligated them to pay the residents a sum of 150,000 NIS in damages, and to remove an electricity generator.

In Haredi cities/settlements, it has become common to install and operate a private generator for use on Shabbos, so there will be no need to use electricity from the electric company that may be desecrating the Shabbos in its procedures. The use of the generator is generally considered a stringency, but it has become fairly widespread in these communities and is considered by some to be necessary, and not just a stringency.

The court decided that while the electricity produced might be kosher, it does much harm in other areas; smoke, noise, radiation, electrocution, and unauthorized use of public property. Based on these concerns, the courts decided against the city of BB.

The court is referring to a generator that was put up without a license and without permission from the authorities. This has been fairly common, with the city often turning a blind eye and ignoring it so as not to make trouble for residents. After this court case, they might no longer be able to do that, and people installing and/or operating generators might very well need to actually get authorization and licensing to do so.

I have no idea if the one in RBS is a pirate generator or if it is authorized and licensed, but at least they listened to the complaints of the residents and did something to lessen the disturbance.


  1. Don't we have two of these exhaust pipes: one near the end of Uriah, and one down where you live?

  2. this is the one near me. I am not familiar with the one on Uriah. I go there to learn every week but never noticed it

  3. Who's the jackass that put that ugly pipe on top of Chanichei Yeshviot?

    Doing something unsightly in a neighbourhood is a Choshen Mishpat no-no.

    But who the hell cares about basic halacha in Choshen Mishpat when you get to do a chumra in Orach Chaim!!

    Not to mention that the jackass who is so frum to put the pipe on top of C.Y. still uses the regular electricity in his home.

  4. What's the choshen mishpot issur? Blocking your view is not generally a recognized hezek; at best, you might be able to claim a lowering of property values (which is a grama (patur aval assur)).

    I'll leave sources for proper speech as an exercise for the reader...

  5. what chumra is there in orach chaim regarding this? this was done to alleviate the issues disturbing the neighbors. they seem to be ok with the chimney, and while I do not know how it works with choshen mishpat and the overall neighborhood, or with whether the courts would allow it or not, as per the rest of the post with the bnei brak example, they did it this way because they were being sensitive to the neighbors concerns.

  6. I think the chumrah in O.C. to which Andrew Dice "Anonymous" Clay was referring was being machmir in an issue of Shabbos.

    Didn't the electric company hire 100+ non-Jews a while back to work on Shabbos so that this wouldn't be an issue?

  7. I thought so too, but the chimney has nothing to do with that. the generator is already there. the chimney is simply a way to release the exhaust and fumes in a way that will not bother the neighbors.

  8. Mike-

    You're talking like a good chareidi brainwashed boy.

    "Patur aval Assur" -- i.e. Let's do it!! We can get away with it!!! Only a gramma!

    See: Bava Kama 82b;Rashi regarding neighborhood unsightlyness

  9. Why thank you for your flattery. In case you didn't understand, assur means don't do it. However, as a grama, you cannot claim any damages (assuming you even are affected; do you live here, my dear anonymous?)

    I'm aware of the gemaras you're referring to; I'm also aware that shulchan aruch and the achronim generally do NOT consider visual aesthetics to be on equal footing with the damages caused by vibrations, smoke, noise, or smell (or, for that matter, to be terribly significant when compared to a hiddur (assuming it is...) in hilchos shabbos).


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