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July 10, 2007

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Those Rabbis are deep, very deep, in the jungle of obsessive/compulsive disorder. Somebody give them some Paxil. Shalom.

Joseph Campbell makes an interesting observation, that religion in general, and religious ritual in particular, serves the function of protecting people against religious experience. In other words, the genuine experience of the numinous is so powerful and circuit-blowing, that the symbols and trappings of religion provide a point a crystalization that keep us from going mad. Religion, then, can actually be seen as a hindrance or antidote to genuine spiritual experience.

Perhaps kosher practices can be regarded as a form of mediation and spiritual focus, much the way others of us might focus on mathematics or or music or art as a way of making the unknowable seem manageable.

Freely bash all the religions you like, but try not to bash something about which you're ignorant. You make it perfectly clear that you don't understand the laws behind Jewish sabbath observance, and I'm afraid a quick read of Wikipedia doesn't make you an expert.

I get the same frustrated feeling from all the unfortunate folks who "don't believe in" global warming, or the people who bash evolution, not based on scientific inquiry, but because they're offended by the notion of sharing ancestors with apes. Be critical, be engaged, but first and foremost, be informed. (And maybe try to be respectful?)

jabbett, I happen to believe in the reality of evolution and global warming. And I don't believe that God is going to be offended if a Jew turns on the oven Saturday afternoon.

These are completely different areas of inquiry. And ridicule.

Just as I'd ridicule someone who ignores the evidence of global warming and evolution, so do I ridicule someone who refuses to turn on their oven because of ancient myths with absolutely no evidence behind them.

Like I said, I'm an equal opportunity ridiculer. I particularly enjoy ridiculing my own previous unsupported beliefs.

If you could point me to any objective demonstrable evidence that supports the injunction against using a kitchen applicance on a particular day of the week, I'd be happy to reconsider my ridiculing position.

Personally, I've lived just fine using my oven whenever I want to.

Mr. equal opportunity ridiculer. So now you are telling that since you particularly enjoy ridiculing your own previous unsupported beliefs now gives you the right to ridicule beleifs of all others including Jews this time. Your actions reflect what you are. To me you and your blog is the biggest laughing stock. Reflect and ridicule your own actions that would be better than ridiculing others beleifs and hurting their centiments. Oops! I preached again. Readers now await wrath from the THREE gods (Brian, Tao and Tuscan Bob) of churchless blog!!

Paul, I shall smite thee down and Jabbet as well!

This is a blog. There is no obligation here to be informed, free of ignorance (who is?), an expert, or even respectful. I thought Brian's treatment of Jewish absurdities was rather kind and reserved. Can you imagine what "Saturday Night Live" would do with this material?...all these Rabbis arguing over the finer points of proper oven use!

Tuscan Bob

haven't been to Tuscany yet, maybe someday.

Jabbett,

Please do show us, as you say, "the laws behind Jewish sabbath observance". Either put-up or shut-up.

As you said: "...first and foremost, be informed". So therefore please do inform us, and explain the reasons behind all the obscure and nonsensical Jewish religious taboos and rituals. What exactly are these reasons?

And about that global warming thing.... Perhaps you should include the conclusive proof that global warming is caused solely by mankind. So again... as far as the evidence goes, put-up or shut-up.


I really enjoyed this comment from the Fiat blog:

*Okay, now explain this to me: How is changing cooking temperatures but avoiding the appearance of changing cooking temperatures keeping the Sabbath holy?*

It is a thing of wonder that human beings concieve of unbreakable laws only to try to break them.

Okay, Jabbett:

So now you are telling that since you particularly enjoy ridiculing your own previous unsupported beliefs now gives you the right to ridicule beleifs of all others including Jews this time.

Um...no, being a free-thinker and a member of a (nominally) free society gives him that right. The fact that he ridicules his past silliness, just makes Brian consistent, non-hypocritical and honest.
By the way, you and your beliefs are not special, at least not in the way you seem to think they are. Special to *you*, yes, but that doesn't mean they have to be to anyone else. (I have plenty of ideas about myself and my community that I think are *special*; fine--I also acknowledge no one has any obligation to confer *specialness* on it and that's also fine with me.)
I'd much prefer that someone offend me or insult something I hold to be true than that they physically attack or coerce me or hinder my ability to live my life. As far as I can tell, Brian is doing none of those things and you are free to continue engaging in what he perceives as being silly. You are also free to NOT perceive your practices and beliefs as silly, that is well within your "rights". You're also free to choose whether to be offended or not, whether you acknowledge that you and you alone have made that choice or not. See, that's the great thing about the free exchange of ideas: freedom to disagree; one of the boons of a tolerant, pluralistic society.

Being an observant Jew I have the right to speak on this matter, unlike the the others who have posted offensive material. Ironically I came across this website by googling "ovens kosher feature" because I am considering to buy one! Why, you non-observant Jews and/or gentiles might wonder, do we practice these forms of seemingly incomprehensible actions such as not turning on a light on Shabbat? The answer is a deep, meaningful, mystical, and complex one which is not understandable to all and definitely not worth explaining on this website only to be ridiculed.

Why not spend your energy criticizing the religious actions of others that cause death, harm, and destruction rather than picking on the harmless actions such as switching on a light. Turn on a light or turn on a bomb? Which worries you more?

Do you have to be an observant Jew to have "the right to speak on this matter"? I don't think so. The definition of "offensive" is also highly subjective.

I prefer not to disclose my religion, or lack thereof, but my two cents on this is that Jewish rituals ARE at times rather silly and seem to encourage some people to focus more on observance in practice than in spirit.

I don't think Jabbett or the nameless Jew above can deny that many Jewish people also spend a lot of time trying to work around these requirements, so that one may comply while still getting on with one's life. In fact, I find this one of the many wonderfully charming aspects of Jewish culture.

The cynic in me also feels that elaborate rituals are a way for the Jewish community to preserve precisely that "mystique" that nameless above touches on, to ensure that non-Jews would neither understand nor attempt to follow the same rules. A separatist way to sort out the real Jews from the wannabes, in other words.

One can come up with any number of explanations for why this kind of separatism has been historically necessary, but I'm not going to go there. Suffice it to say that in my own first-hand experience, there IS elitism and snobbery going on, and rituals definitely play a part in that.

As someone who is middle aged and well read and as spent many years studying what is wrong and what is right to do, on the Sabbath or even through the week.

I do find some Jewish ideas very foolish and I do find some preach race supremacy.

But lets deal with the cooking on the Sabbath issue first, it says on the article that to cook on the Sabbath is wrong. Correct according to The Torah. But why is it OK to start cooking before Sabbath and then keep the oven on and take the food out on Sabbath. Are you not still cooking.

It also says regarding Sabbath rules on Jewish sites, one can not use an electric appliance on Sabbath but one can use a non-boiling kettle or urn or a hotplate for heating food or keeping it warm. Are not these electrical appliances.

As for keeping Kosher why do Jews eat Ducks when its very clear these birds are unclean, according th The Torah.

Also some Jews preach race supremacy just like Hitler and Right wing extremists.

I would just like to say, because of the sins of the Jews, who are the chosen people the rest of the world can be justified, because are not the sins of the Jews the same as the non-believers or this world. And are not the Jews stubborn, and after all that happen in Egypt on the Exodus the Jews who saw all those miracles then sinned badly.

So when it comes to race supremacy you Jews are not supreme, remember that you only were chosen because of Abram not because you were supreme or even nice people, or people that wouldn't sin.

Also why we on the subject of Abram, didn't he drink milk and eat meat on the plains of Mamre. So where do Jews get you can't drink milk and eat meat. I know were they get it, But you are dumb who believe that and even dumber to follow the Rabbi's word and most Jews wouldn't even know why the Rabbi as told them that or even question the blindness of the Rabbi's.

I would just like to add I don't hate Jews but am mealy stating some facts.

As another observant Jew, I came across this site through googling "sabbath modes". While clearly you know very little about the laws of Shabbat and the 39 melachot, I do somewhat agree with you about the cooties. There is sometimes such a thing as overboard, but most people who do keep kosher will "kosherize" as you call it (Kasher) their pots if if treiff (non kosher) food has touched it. its a matter of purity. Not racial purity, but purity of food and what we are eating.


Now let me try to explain to you this seemingly confusing and absurd Jewish observance of Shabbat.

There are 39 "categories" of things that used to be done in the Beit HaMikdash (temple) that because there is no temple anymore, we do not do on Shabbat. Jews do not use their oven for cooking on Shabbat. All the food is precooked, and simply heated up, which is allowed on Shabbat. This is the purpose of the hot plate and urn.

Now how did we arrive at electricity being building, fire, completing, etc. This is because Rabbis would engage in scholarly debate over how to treat these as the inventions came up. By turning it on you are completing a circuit, also considered building. Electricity most closely resembles fire, and does involve sparks and other elements of fire. Some conservative Rabbis believe that electricity is not fire because it does not behave in the same manners, but this is a minority belief.

Jews do not eat meat and milk because it says in the Torah one should not cook a kid in his mothers milk/fat. This was an ancient practice of various other nations around the land of Canaan, and this was another way we separated ourselves from these other nations, and because that is just inhumane. Now complete milk and meat separation, this is known as "creating a fence around the Torah", rabbis decided in the Talmudic period that it extends to all meat (noting that fish is some sorta neutral category) .

I don't get why completing an electrical circuit would be offensive to God, but I do get the milk and meat thing. It has always seemed weird to me to eat cheese or milk with meat. You know, mixing what sustains the cow's life with its remains. Hold the cheese on the cheeseburger.

De gustibus non est disputandum:

I enjoy the cheese (as well as bacon) on my cheeseburgers. Yet I would prefer a Dr. Pepper with this, rather than having it with milk.

"Gods" simply don't exist - despite many people(s) believing in them, through time and around the world.

Robert Paul Howard

This article shows the idiocy of its writer. Laughing at thinks he has no clue about like some primitive who landed in NY and wonders at what people are doing (why do you were so complicated clothes? it's stupid! why are you watching that silly box? you should go out and hunt!)

amazing how thin skinned religious people are...the minute you point out how petty and silly they act its all about hate and anti semitism...i grew up hasidic, im a proud atheist now and could give a fuck if someone is 'offended' by being called out for their fucking primitive rituals

family dies in brooklyn house fire because they couldn't turn their hot plate off. religious zealots are mentally ill.

I think many Jews find kashrut absurd too, myself included. I always find it interesting that other Jews expend large amounts of energy wondering whether their food might be contaminated by 1/60th of treif yet won't even greet their non-Jewish neighbours in the street. Kashrut and all its packaging and restrictions is a waste of the world's resources. The Torah was written by people over a long period of time. Kashrut has no other function other than forcing Jews to only socialise with other Jews. Kashrut is also a way of giving rabbis control over Jews.

It is time we Jews got rid of all the nonsense about being a chosen people and allow anyone (like most other religions) to be Jewish if they choose to identify with Judaism. Otheriwse we will become a fossilised religion that is meaningless.

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