Grama (halacha)

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A Grama (Aramaic - גרמא) in Halacha (Jewish law) is something that was indirectly[1] caused by something else but which outcome is not guaranteed.

A classic example given to this is of vases that are filled with water and put around a campfire in order to extinguish it. This is allowed[2] because it is indirect and because the fire might not extinguish.

In civil law[edit]

There is a rule that Grama benizakin patur. If somebody caused financial harm to somebody else via an action that was not guaranteed to harm them, the person cannot be forced by a court to pay, although he might be morally obligated to.

On Shabbat[edit]

An action which indirectly cause Shabbat violation, due to grama, has a lower level of prohibition than an action which violates Shabbat directly. In situations of great need, a grama violation can be permitted.[3]

Based on this, a variety of electrical devices have been developed which violate Shabbat only through grama, and thus can be used in situations of great need, for example in health care or security.[3]

See also[edit]