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Religious perspective

Reader comment on item: El Al, "Goy" Airline?
in response to reader comment: How one practices the religion ... is a personal choice.

Submitted by Yaakov Watkins (United States), Jan 1, 2007 at 18:10

I'll try to cover the points in order that you make them.

Just as individuals cannot evade their responsibilities under Jewish law, neither can Israel. I am not imposing my beliefs on anyone. I am recognizing a state of affairs that already exists.

When someone is insufficiently educated to recognize their responsibilities under Jewish law, that changes their responsibility in the world to come and their responsibility for bringing sacrifices if the Temple is rebuilt in their lives, I can't see it as relevant here.

If religion is a personal choice then Judaism isn't a religion.

The issues of shabbes observance, medical emergencies, major financial losses, safety issues etc are all adequately dealt with in Jewish law. There are established priorities, and issues are dealt with according to those priorities. These are complicated issues and have complicated discussions. Any answer that could be given here to cover the whole topic would be so limited as to be useless. I'm sorry. Some topics require study.

Yes the wicked will be punished. One's degree of culpability is proportional to one's understanding of the issue. People who are more educated have a higher degree of responsibility than people who are less educated. People who are willfully uneducated bear responsibility for that also. Again that is complicated. By way of analogy, no one would think of putting a 5 year old in prison for life for intentional murder, yet an ex-cop with a history of violence would get that sentence. G-d is certainly capable of making very fine distinctions in the way he understands people's guilt. And he doesn't necessarily share that information with me. I just get rules to follow. I also have to study.

You bring up something that I'm having trouble understanding where you are coming from. "but do you really think you'll be thunderbolted and sent to the bottom pits of Hell for having a Big Mac?" I don't know where you get this idea of a thunderbolt, or the idea of the the pits of hell, but if I had to guess, I would say that you have been spending too much time listening to Calvanists. As for the issues surrounding eating a Big Mac, I'm sorry I can't teach you here what you are missing, go study Judaism.

Your assumption that Orthodox Jews are uneducated in the sciences, engineering, or running a business is unfounded, bigoted, and incorrect.

I believe, as many others do, that it is immoral for Jews to break the sabbath. I also believe that it is immoral to show movies of animals being tortured. Would you feel that it would be within the bounds of "running an airline" which Hareidim should not express an opinion about if El Al showed movies of animals being tortured? I would hope not.

So the questions are: "Which moral violations should Hareidim feel free to speak up against and which are ones that you would have them keep quiet about?" And "Which moral violations do you feel free to speak against and which are the ones that you feel constrained to keep quiet about?"

I hope this is suitably polite and to the point.

Submitting....

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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