Poskim and Shabbat Logistics

According to my book The 39 Melachos of Shabbos, it’s forbidden (asur) to brush one’s teeth on Shabbat, due to problems with smearing or scraping.  On the other hand, Halachipedia (a really great resource for novices!!) gives a list of other poskim (rabbinical rulings) of lesser strictness that say it is permissible to brush one’s teeth on Shabbat.  Good thing, too, because I am one of these people who gets really unhappy about being dirty in any way.  It already pains me to have to go without showering on Shabbat (to avoid using hot water).  I sweat when I sleep…

I’m also going to have to go with the (possibly) countervailing opinion on whether it’s permitted to touch your pets on Shabbat.  The strict opinion says no, as in their eyes, pets don’t have “an immediate practical use” relevant to Shabbat.  Unfortunately for me, I have two cats, and one of those cats has very strong opinions about what her immediate (and I mean like now, and again in five minutes, and anytime it happens to be “now”) practical use is, and that is to snuggle me as much as possible.  She takes this duty very seriously.  I’m actually typing this with a small-but-portly, ferociously purring tortoishell cat draped over my front.  I’m pretty sure that even if I wanted to hew to the stricter opinion, I wouldn’t be allowed.  I’d probably wake up with her sleeping on my arm or smushed up against my side or something, and my boy cat (who is black down to the Plimsoll line and then white) crashed out on my foot.

You ever heard the expression “Two Jews, three opinions”?  Sometimes this tendency can be your friend.


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