Archive for the ‘Judaism’ Category

The Fear Monster Doesn’t like me because…

Lots of good reasons, but I like this young woman’s

I just wish her mouth was in sync with what she’s saying.  She looks like a bad 1960s Japanese cartoon.

And she”s cut off at the end of her speech.

From the Al Tirah facebook page

Fear MonstersFear Monsters Freedom means being able to brandish a gun.

Empathy Monsters And when you accidentally shoot yourself in the foot, to have the health insurance cover to cover it.

Fear MonstersFear Monsters Let’s face it: Glenn Beck IS America.

Empathy Monsters I’m moving to Sweden.

    • Empathy Monsters Fear Monsters gets their political news from one Web site that is totally comprehensive except for spelling and fact-checking.

Al Tirah! Fear Not!

When the heroes of biblical times despaired, God would speak to them. “Al Tirah! Fear Not!” God commanded. Good advice then, good advice now

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, Jedi Grand Master Yoda, known for his idiosyncratic object-subject-verb word order, shared this pearl of wisdom. “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

This year, anger, fear, contempt, cynicism, racial tension and religious discrimination have all bled into the country’s political and cultural fabric. Americans are despairing at the rise of John Birch Politics and figures like Glenn Beck; the hateful rhetoric and actions targeting Muslims, immigrants, gays, Obama and other political and philanthropic leaders; the severe economic challenges facing the country. They are despairing at the limitations of the leaders they elected to create change.

While this is a Jewish movement, I think that other Americans should listen to the message of Al Tirah! Fear Not! In fact, peoples of all faiths and nationalities need to remember this message.

The Empathy Monster is Americans at our best, guided by a powerful sense of responsibility and community.
Empathy beats fear when:

I seek solutions to problems, not scapegoats
I listen
I stand up to hate
I love my neighbor as much as I love myself
I remember that my ancestors were once discriminated against

Fight the Fear Monster!
This campaign is complete with Fear and Empathy Monsters who are already engaged in a Facebook faceoff.

Another test about religion

The Man With the Muckrake got me going with his 93% A- post about the  Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life’s 32 question quiz about religious knowledge

I did 100% at the CNN version and 14/15 at the Pew test (15 “Which one of these preachers participated in the period of religious activity known as the First Great Awakening?” stumped me). “although the United States is one of the most religious developed countries in the world, most Americans scored 50 percent or less on a quiz measuring knowledge of the Bible, world religions and what the Constitution says about religion in public life.”

The surprise is that Agnostics and Atheists did the best on this survey. The people at Pew have a theory for this:  that these groups have thought more about religion than most people.  Another factor that influenced the results was education: the better educated the subject, the better their score.

It doesn’t surprise me that people are ignorant of other religions in the US. or that they are ignorant about Christianity. I blame the reformation and its creation of various sects. Pretty much any one can pick up the Bible and claim they have a religion: even if that ‘religion” is based upon misinterpretation.

If I were a Christian, I would have to be of the strong Catholic/Anglican Church crowd. As I keep saying­

Give me that old time religion…

And let’s burn a few heretics.

A couple of spiritual good deals

It seems that one doesn’t need to convert to Judaism to get the benefits since it seems there are a couple of categories one can fall into to receive the benefits: Noachide and ger toshav. The last is a kind of green card to the “nation of Israel” that is applied to someone who has married a Jew, or otherwise lives amongst them, but hasn’t converted. It seems that only Jews are stuck with being the Chosen People, which seems to be that they do the spiritual scutwork for those of us who aren’t Jews.

But for some odd reason some Jews say in their aleinu: shelo asani goy “thank you for not making me a gentile”.

The more I know about Judaism, the odder that sounds. We dumb goys are not Chosen to be paragons of virtue, or at least try to be. Naw, it’s the Jews who have to keep kosher, keep the 613 mitzvot, and say at least 100 blessings a day!

The next super deal is retroactive, or proxy, baptism. The Mormons will baptise you after you’re dead and then give you the option of becoming a Mormon. So, if you are sitting in Hell, someone comes along and tells you that you have been proxy baptised so that you can be a Mormon and go to heaven. I hope they add the bit about Heaven includes polygamous sex when they tell you that you can go there.

So, you don’t need to be a Mormon in this life to benefit! Not a bad deal. In fact, you are sitting in Hell, if the Mormons are correct, when you get this option of accepting their baptism. I am not sure how you learn of this when you are dead, but I know full fucking well that I am going to accept that “ordinance”. I mean I am in Hell when they break this news to me.

So, it sounds like you can slide through life if you are willing to do the minimum of goodness requisite to be a Noachide or Ger Toshav. And failing that, you can choose to become a Mormon in the afterlife and reap all the bennies (polygamous sex!).

Works for me!

A solution to the problem in the Holy Land!

I have this neat idea: let’s revive the Knights Templar. Except this go round,let’s make them more ecumenical: i.e. Jews, Christians, and Moslems. All three religions find this area sacred and need to learn how to share. The New Templars will ensure that everyone can enjoy the freedom of the Holy Land and work to cut religious strife.

Gun control in the Talmud

First off, one principle of Judaism is that of Tikkun Olam, or healing the world. Jews are supposed to be an example of good in the world. That’s what being chosen is about. It is to be an example of how to be Godly and show the light into the world.

What does that have to do with firearms anyway? Some Jews, such as JPFO, use appeals to history and the Judaic tradition. These pleas to oppose gun control are far from convincing. To argue that Jews must respond to gun violence with a paranoid impulse to grab guns in self defense is a dangerous perspective. This is using darkness to fight the darkness in the world

The bigger picture does not support opposition to firearms regulation, especially if that will lead to the prevention of harm. Life is sacred in Judaism. Preservation or a human life can even justify violating mitzot with only three exceptions: avoda zarah [idol worship], shfichas damim [murder], and giluy arayus [illicit relations]!

In Judaism, safety is a religious concern, especially if protecting human life is involved. The Bible requires that a roof be properly gated, in order to prevent people from falling off of it (Deuteronomy 22:8). This commandment is understood by the Talmud as a general directive to remove any safety hazard (Bava Kamma 15b; Shulchan Aruch CM 427:8). Contemporary rabbinic authorities include in this commandment an employer’s responsibility to ensure occupational safety (Piskei Uziel 47) and an injunction against reckless driving (Minchat Yitzchak 8:148). Someone who refuses to remove a safety hazard can be punished by excommunication (YD 334:7). In general, safety regulations are treated with far greater stringency than any other section of halacha (YD 116:7). Clearly, any Jewish view of gun control places high value on safety.

In the Talmud there are specific regulations that resemble gun control. There is a law against owning a dangerous dog (Bava Kamma 79a). One who owns a dangerous dog must keep it tied in metal chains at all times (CM 409:3). Even if the dog is defanged or trained not to harm people, it must be chained because it may frighten strangers, and as a result may cause stress related injuries such as miscarriage and heart attacks (Shabbat 63b). One of the more pious Rabbis, Rabbi Pinchas Ben Yair, was so stringent about this law that he refused to own mules, because they can occasionally cause injury (Hullin 7b; Terumat Hadeshen 2:105).

There were instances when allowances were made to these rules. In border communities, where there is a threat of marauders, owners of dangerous dogs may unchain them at night for protection. Some say that any dangerous city is similar to a border community (CM 409:3).These sources demonstrate that halacha would require any gun to be carefully locked at all times, with allowances made in cases where the gun is actively being used for security. Those who are more stringent would avoid guns completely. (It should also be noted that many authorities prohibit hunting for sport; Rama OH 316:2, Darchei Teshuva YD 117:44)

There is a second halacha that is relevant to this issue. The Talmud prohibits someone from selling offensive weapons to idol worshippers and suspected criminals (Avodah Zarah 15b; YD 151:5-6). The rule against selling to idol worshippers is based on an assumption that the idol worshippers will use them against Jews; however, if the Jews are allied with the idol worshippers, it is permitted to sell them arms. It is likewise prohibited to sell such weapons to anyone suspected of reselling them to criminals. This halacha requires that the buyers of firearms be carefully screened, and resembles in many ways laws requiring a national registry of gun and rifle owners.

Although halacha is extremely concerned about safety, it does not prohibit the ownership of guns. However, recognizing that a gun is a dangerous object, halacha (like many current gun control laws) requires that owners and vendors of guns take all possible precautions to prevent their guns from causing any harm.

Jewish tradition compels us to uphold the sanctity of life. An instrumentality like a firearm is not more valuable than a human life. The ownership of firearms must be responsible. These instrumentalities must be regulated in a manner which respects life. Anyone who argues otherwise is going against Talmudic tradition.

Posted 29/06/2007 by lacithedog in gun control, Jew, Jews, Judaism