This past Friday, New York was stunned by the deaths of two construction workers who were killed by a collapsing construction crane—the second fatal crane accident in Manhattan in recent weeks. A criminal inquiry has been opened by the Manhattan DA's office, focusing on whether the crane's turntable had been seriously damaged last year and then inappropriately put back in service.

While it has yet to be determined that indeed anything criminal has occurred in this instance, I can't help but be reminded of other tragedies that were caused by people who chose to take a chance with shoddy equipment or materials. Do you remember when a floor collapsed at a Jerusalem wedding hall in 2001 leaving 25 dead? The video of that disaster was, and still is, all over the web. It later turned out that the materials used in the building's construction were sub par. The contractors and the owners of the hall were convicted for manslaughter.

Builders who try to cut corners by using unsafe equipment or materials certainly don't anticipate that their actions will cause loss of life. Ninety-nine percent of the time, the equipment and materials will hold up just fine. Instead they are trying to save a few dollars – for themselves as well as for their clients – while dispensing with "cumbersome and oppressive" regulations.

But the regulations are there for a reason. Because 1% is too heavy a cost to pay, too.

This got me thinking about all the rabbinic regulations that some see as stifling and excessive. Restrictions on inter-gender association, restrictions on handling items that have a forbidden function on Shabbat, eating milk and fowl, etc.

Is this overregulation, or sound oversight?