the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Modern Talmudic Question

If a rabbi comes to make a shiva call and there are no available parking spaces outside so he parks "illegally" in the parking-lot of the next-door supermarket, is he required to buy something from the store or is it considered stealing?


  1. Nancy French

    I think God overlooks such things….

  2. Pearl

    You always seem to find humor in everyday simple matters — just like Jerry Seinfeld.

    Pose the question to the, a Chabad web site that answers good and obscure questions like this.

    Maybe the rabbi doesn’t have to buy anything; maybe he can just go into the store and bless the fruit or the store owners!

  3. MA

    You put illegally in quotes, my dear. It means that it wasn’t illegal in your eyes. And I think that Talmudic law agrees with you in this case. But what do I know? I’m catholic.

  4. Bad Maria

    It seems to me that any parking spot in NY is illegal for one reason or another! I think the rabbi should have bought a nice fruit basket to go with all of the food that everyone else brought – after all, it’s tax deductible for him and the temple!

  5. amanda

    haha, my dad always says of parking in NY, “paying for parking is like paying for sex, it’s just something i’ll never do”…i think that a rabbi should be let off the hook for this one.

  6. miss marisol

    Only if they have a kosher aisle?

  7. Richard

    He is required to buy something, but if he stops by the kosher food aisle and says a prayer for the store’s customers who keep kosher, it’s considered a business call and the purchase is deductible.

  8. Rachel

    He ought to pray that he doesn’t get towed.

  9. ms. sizzle

    doesn’t everyone, including a rabbi, need a breath mint? he could pop on over and appease the parking gods with a purchase of breath mints.

  10. Michael

    Not for a Rabbi… but remember at USC? I always parked in the shopping center across the street. That was illegal. And I have the jaywalking ticket to prove it.

  11. Leese

    Parking on the lot of a store you’re not buying anything from is stealing?


    Would this apply to windowshopping? You leave your car in the parking garage of a mall and you have no intention whatsoever to buy anything. You just want to walk around there for the a/c and to people-watch.

    I’m guilty of grand-theft…

  12. anonymous city girl

    I was going to say the samething Miss Marisol. 🙂
    Don’t they give Rabbis the little “I’m a man of G-d” type stickers out there in NY for their cars?

    On the topic of rabbis, I’ll throw in the joke I heard in The Aristocrates movie…
    A Rabbi with a frog on his shoulder walks into a bar. The bartender says, “Where’s you get that?”
    The frong says, “Brooklyn, they’er all over the place.”

    Thank you! Good Night Flushing!

  13. Megarita

    I knew a priest who had “religious leader” tags or something similar. Free parking everywhere!!

  14. modigli

    Hey, yeah, that’s right! Those “religious leader” tags are even more sacred (pardon the pun!) than a handicapped sticker. You could park in the middle of traffic, and won’t get a ticket! 🙂

    I say the Rabbi is in the clear. 🙂

  15. psychotoddler

    He should buy a Three Musketeers, and a ball point pen, a pocket comb, a pint of Old Harper, couple of flashlight

  16. Sandra

    Hmm. Tough one, but I’m thinking that it’s legal. Mostly because there’s a street near my house where people are – because there’s a church nearby and no parking, ever – allowed to park in the suicide lane (see: middle of the street). I’d think a shiva call would count as some sort of religious emergency? (maybe?)

  17. The Moviequill

    he can always say a prayer for the cart boy who has to dodge speeding customers, so he did do something

  18. chuck

    God expects you to pay for what you take.

  19. steven sawczuk

    one night i visited a debate about a bishop spong and had no idea what to soon as i posted a comment i was immediately labeled by my writing style to write in the ancient oral tradition of the talmud.i was at a catholic debate the first i ever heard of an ancient oral tradition or the talamud. i called me the obvious! again i thought i was in a christian debate on turned into agroup of intellectuals and myself being shocked !well i looked up the talmud and noticed a simlarity in my writing style. you could probably guess the rest of the story but i developed a respect for the ancient oral traditions and developed my own theories that vocalization was a necessity to prove a persons understanding. in other words being belittled or abuse and disrespected turned into a learning experience that has grown can you finish the story through suffering and the mercy of god.and it all started in a catholic debate on faith i’m sure every talmud can understand the meaning and reason this event occurred. god works in mysterious ways some can be learned others cannot!

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