Monday, November 07, 2005

Yaakov Menken: More Jews I don't respect

Yackov Mencken argues today (on the blog he named after the cross) that Jews who eat but show up in shul on Yom Kippur are better than Jews who fast at home - and never mind that the halacha and common sense say otherwise. Writes Yaakov:
This Yom Kippur, a gentleman I had not seen before joined the congregation for Mincha (the afternoon service), with a yarmulke of thin fabric perched precariously on his head. His cell phone rang not once, but twice, during prayers. Not only didn’t it ruin my davening, but I somehow felt a positive feeling about this person, clearly not observant, who nonetheless came back to join the services late in the afternoon. Who comes back to shul in the afternoon, other than someone feeling a special connection to the day?

Honestly, whether his belly was full was irrelevant. One way or the other, he was paying attention to his Creator more than someone whose concentration was monopolized by games, visits to friends, and the latest video. Even if the latter person was fasting.
We're glad you found it in your heart to feel positivly toward another Jew on Yom Kippur, but how about a little love for those Jews who fast, but stay home from shul?

The Torah, after all, doesn't tell us to sit in shul on Yom Kippur. It tells us to fast - and you should be celebrating that fact that fasting on Yom Kippur is still honored in klal yisroel. Reflecting on “a special connection to the day” is not required by the law, and I’d wager that more than a few people fasting in shul have their minds on other things. Is fasting while playing monopoly really so much worse than fasting while day-dreaming through musaf - or chatting on your cell phone through Mincha?