Tuesday, December 05, 2006

How the Gedolim could have avoided the strike that caused the shabbos desecration that led to a boycott

Potential ultra-Orthodox boycott threatens to cripple El Al airlines

The story of the miracle flight that didn't crash, but spit smoke from its engines soon after takeoff and had to return to the airport is in the newspaper this morning.

So let me ask again: Why was the plane full of religious people in the first place if R' Shteinman told them not to fly El Al? And I ask again, how did they summon the nerve to call R' Shteinman himself from a crippled El-Al plane to ask him for help?

And finally, as I learned from Jameel, this whole case is further evidence of the ritualization of Judaism. Laws that touch on rituals matter - alot. Laws that relate to social justice? Not so much. Here's the back story:

El Al had to fly on shabbos because the airports were recently crippled by a strike. Why were they on strike? Because the Israeli government, in violation of the law, had refused to pay municipal workers for FIVE MONTHS. This (halanat schar) is a straight de'oyraysa. Did the Rabbis complain about this violation of Jewish law? Did they organize marches? Did they petition the government? Did they utter even one public word as the bills piled up, and the children went unfed? No, no, and no again. Only after El Al landed a plane on shabbos -an act that caused no obvious harm to anyone - did they arise from their slumber.

Maybe if the Gedolim had concerned themselves with the needs of the people who were forced to go without their salaries for five months, the strike could have been averted, and with it the shabos desercration that followed.

What difference does it make to God whether one slaughters from the front of the neck or the back of the neck? Rather the mitzvot were given in order to refine the creatures (letzaref bahem et habriyot) -- Midrash

"Bring no more vain offerings. Incense is an abomination to me; new moons, Sabbaths, and convocations: I can't bear with evil assemblies.14 My soul hates your New Moons and your appointed feasts. They are a burden to me. I am weary of bearing them.15 When you spread forth your hands, I will hide my eyes from you. Yes, when you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood.16 Wash yourselves, make yourself clean. Put away the evil of your doings from before my eyes. Cease to do evil.17 Learn to do well. Seek justice. Relieve the oppressed. Judge the fatherless. Plead for the widow." -- Isaiah 1

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