A Day to Do Good

First United Methodist Church, Shelbyville, Tenn., Aug. 21, 2022

John I. Carney
11 min readAug 21, 2022

Eruv in Bnei Brak, Israel. Photo by Ynhockey, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Luke 13:10–17 (CEB)

Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. A woman was there who had been disabled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and couldn’t stand up straight. When he saw her, Jesus called her to him and said, “Woman, you are set free from your sickness.” He placed his hands on her and she straightened up at once and praised God.
The synagogue leader, incensed that Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, responded, “There are six days during which work is permitted. Come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath day.”
The Lord replied, “Hypocrites! Don’t each of you on the Sabbath untie your ox or donkey from its stall and lead it out to get a drink? Then isn’t it necessary that this woman, a daughter of Abraham, bound by Satan for eighteen long years, be set free from her bondage on the Sabbath day?” When he said these things, all his opponents were put to shame, but all those in the crowd rejoiced at all the extraordinary things he was doing.

Encircling most of the island of Manhattan is a very thin wire. It has to be at least 15 feet off the ground, but it’s higher in some places. It’s not part of any utility service; it doesn’t transmit electricity or telephone calls or Internet data. It’s not an antenna. In fact, it’s more like fishing line. You might never notice it, and if you did notice it you would never guess why it’s there.

The wire is called an eruv (EH-roov). It’s 18 miles long. It was put there by a group of Orthodox Jewish synagogues, and they collectively pay about $150,000 a year to maintain it. Every Thursday morning, before dawn, it’s inspected to make sure there are no breaks. If there is a break, it has to be repaired by sundown on Friday. In 2011, the wire broke, near the United Nations building, and because the General Assembly was in session, it took some doing to get repair crews to the site of the break. The fact that the wire was broken was big local news in New York.

John I. Carney

Author of “Dislike: Faith and Dialogue in the Age of Social Media,” available at http://www.lakeneuron.com/dislike