Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Speaking of Chumras

Judaism is replete with some strange laws and prohibitions; however, we are hardly unique. If you think we have it bad, read on. Our chumras are in good company it would seem.

The world's strangest laws
Did you know it's illegal in France to name a pig Napoleon? Or that in Ohio you're not allowed to get a fish drunk? Alex Wade celebrates the spirit of the silly season with a list of the world's most ridiculous laws. (London Times Online, August 2007)

25. It is illegal for a cab in the City of London to carry rabid dogs or corpses.
24. It is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament.
23. It is an act of treason to place a postage stamp bearing the British monarch upside down.
22. In France, it is forbidden to call a pig Napoleon.
21. Under the UK’s Tax Avoidance Schemes Regulations 2006, it is illegal not to tell the taxman anything you don’t want him to know, though you don’t have to tell him anything you don’t mind him knowing.
20. In Alabama, it is illegal for a driver to be blindfolded while driving a vehicle.
19. In Ohio, it is against state law to get a fish drunk.
18. Royal Navy ships that enter the Port of London must provide a barrel of rum to the Constable of the Tower of London.
17. In the UK, a pregnant woman can legally relieve herself anywhere she wants – even, if she so requests, in a policeman’s helmet.
16. In Lancashire, no person is permitted after being asked to stop by a constable on the seashore to incite a dog to bark.
15. In Miami, Florida, it is illegal to skateboard in a police station.
14. In Indonesia, the penalty for masturbation is decapitation.
13. In England, all men over the age of 14 must carry out two hours of longbow practice a day.
12. In London, Freemen are allowed to take a flock of sheep across London Bridge without being charged a toll; they are also allowed to drive geese down Cheapside.
11. In San Salvador, drunk drivers can be punished by death before a firing squad.
10. In the UK, a man who feels compelled to urinate in public can do so only if he aims for his rear wheel and keeps his right hand on his vehicle.
9. In Florida, unmarried women who parachute on Sundays can be jailed.
8. In Kentucky, it is illegal to carry a concealed weapon more than six-feet long.
7. In Chester, Welshmen are banned from entering the city before sunrise and from staying after sunset.
6. In the city of York, it is legal to murder a Scotsman within the ancient city walls, but only if he is carrying a bow and arrow.
5. In Boulder, Colorado, it is illegal to kill a bird within the city limits and also to “own” a pet – the town’s citizens, legally speaking, are merely “pet minders”.
4. In Vermont, women must obtain written permission from their husbands to wear false teeth.
3. In London, it is illegal to flag down a taxi if you have the plague.
2. In Bahrain, a male doctor may legally examine a woman’s genitals but is forbidden from looking directly at them during the examination; he may only see their reflection in a mirror.
1. The head of any dead whale found on the British coast is legally the property of the King; the tail, on the other hand, belongs to the Queen - in case she needs the bones for her corset.

The following laws are still on the books. Most are no longer enforced and many contemporary lawmakers are not even aware of the laws' existence or history. Some are state laws, some are local within the states. Check to see if you have broken any laws.
**It is illegal for a driver to be blindfolded while operating a

**Community leaders passed an ordinance that makes it illegal
for anyone to try to stop a child from playfully jumping over
puddles of water.
**It is illegal to peel an orange in a hotel room in Los Angeles.

**You can be stopped by the police for biking over 65 miles
per hour.
**You are not allowed to walk across a street on your hands.

**Women may be fined for falling asleep under a hair dryer, as
can the salon owner.
**A special law prohibits unmarried women from parachuting
on Sunday or they risk arrest, fine, and/or jailing.
**If an elephant is left tied to a parking meter, the parking fee
has to be paid just as it would for a vehicle.
**It is illegal to sing in a public place while attired in a
**Men may not be seen publicly in any kind of strapless gown.

**It is illegal for anyone to give lighted cigars to dogs, cats, and
other domesticated animals kept as pets.
**It is illegal to fish in your pajamas in Chicago.

**Bathing is prohibited during the winter.
**Citizens are not allowed to attend a movie house or theater
nor ride in a public streetcar within four hours after eating

**Kisses may last for as much as, but no more than, five

**By law, anyone who has been drinking is "sober" until he or
she "cannot hold onto the ground."
**It is illegal to transport an ice cream cone in your pocket.

**It is illegal to rob a bank and then shoot at the bank teller
with a water pistol.
**Biting someone with your natural teeth is "simple assault,"
while biting someone with your false teeth is "aggravated

**Mourners at a wake may not eat more than three sandwiches.
**Snoring is prohibited unless all bedroom windows are closed
and securely locked.
**An old ordinance declares goatees illegal unless you first pay
a special license fee for the privilege of wearing one in public.
**Taxi drivers are prohibited from making love in the front seat
of their taxi during their shifts.

**A parent can be arrested if her/his child cannot hold back a
burp during a church service.

New Mexico
**Females are strictly forbidden to appear unshaven in public.

New York
**A fine of $25 can be levied for flirting. This old law
specifically prohibits men from turning around on any city street
and looking "at a woman in that way." A second conviction for
a crime of this magnitude calls for the violating male to be
forced to wear a "pair of horse-blinders" wherever and
whenever he goes outside for a stroll.
**A very strict law in New York makes death the penalty for jumping off a building.

North Dakota
**Beer and pretzels can't be served at the same time in any bar
or restaurant.

**Women are prohibited from wearing patent leather shoes in

**Violators can be fined, arrested, or jailed for making ugly
faces at a dog.
**Females are forbidden from doing their own hair without
being licensed by the state.
**Dogs must have a permit signed by the mayor in order to
congregate in groups of three or more on private property.

**A special cleaning ordinance bans homemakers from hiding
dirt and dust under a rug in a dwelling.
**No man may purchase alcohol without written consent from
his wife.
**Sleeping on top of a refrigerator is illegal in Pittsburgh

South Dakota
**It is forbidden to fall asleep in a cheese factory.

**In Memphis, it is illegal to give any pie to fellow diners. It is also illegal to take unfinished pie home. All pie must be eaten on the premises.

**A city ordinance states that a person cannot go barefoot
without first obtaining a special five-dollar permit.
**It is illegal to take more than three sips of beer at a time
while standing.
**you can be arrested if you shoot a buffalo from the second story of your hotel.
**Texas recently enacted a new anticrime law requiring criminals to give their victims 24 hours notice, either orally or in writing, and to explain the nature of the crime to be committed.

**It is unlawful to hunt whales within the state boundaries

**Lawmakers made it obligatory for everybody to take at least
one bath each week- - on Saturday night.

**it is illegal to tickle women
**In Culpeper, VA you may not wash your mule on the sidewalk.
**In Norfolk, VA spitting on a sea gull is not tolerated
**Until recently, in Waynesboro, VA it was illegal for a woman to drive a car up Main Street unless her husband is walking in front of the car waving a red flag.

**All lollipops are banned.
**A law to reduce crime states: "It is mandatory for a motorist
with criminal intentions to stop at the city limits and telephone
the chief of police as he is entering the town.

West Virginia
**No children may attend school with their breath smelling of
"wild onions."

Every state in the U.S. has goofy laws such as these that have not been brought to court. They are still around for the American people to ponder.


Anonymous said...

And we elected the fools who came up with these laws?

Bas~Melech said...

Boy am I glad to live in a state where I can get my fish drunk... but I'm considering a move to California; it seems dangerous to go on living in a place where people can just drive around blindfolded.

Bas~Melech said...

Did I say California? I meant Alabama.

Anonymous said...

And people voluntarily go by the hundreds to retire in Florida? Maybe someone should tell them what they are in for.

Anonymous said...

Whale hunting in Utah was so much of a problem that they had to make a law? My geography knowledge isn't all that great but I do know that Utah doesn't border any oceans. I guess my geography is better then those who live in Utah. Mudst be all that polygamy going on that made them miss this fact.

Anonymous said...

Myabe we could just substitute some of these nutty laws for some of our chumrahs. I think I could manage really easily not to spit on a seagull.

Anonymous said...

Jews in Vermont must have it rough. maybe why not many live there. A three day yom tov falling over shabbos night would mean they would be breaking the taking a bath law. Can just see a national organization taking on the Vermont legislature to get an exemption for jews. And I bet the headline would read Jews Refuse to take a Bath.

Anonymous said...

New Mexico sounds like a perfect place for chasidim to live. Their chumras match perfectly.

Anonymous said...

Don't think whales are native to Utah and elephants aren't to Florida. What possible use are these laws or were these laws? Yeah, they're kind of like a lot of the chumras we have; don't make sense but there they are.