What's the Point?

2006-05-11 22:06 - Religion

It seems that in these modern days, there are a lot of people that call themselves "Catholic" or "Jewish" but barely qualify. Some of these people are even "orthodox". I don't think it makes sense to claim to be a member of any particular religion, if you pick and choose which pieces to adhere to. One of the most egregious examples of this behavior is the Jewish Eruv.

It's something so common that it gets its own word; and it means a loophole. A loophole so audacious that it is actually designed to violate God's laws. (Or, at least what the people using the loophole are ready to believe are God's laws.)

First, there's this interesting interpretation:

According to the Torah, items cannot be moved outdoors during the Shabbat, a prohibition that includes relocating an item from within an enclosed area (like a home) to the outdoors as well as moving an item that resides outdoors. Obviously, this restriction can make life difficult in an urban area. So rabbis decided to redefine the phrase "enclosed area." They ruled that if a wire or string completely surrounds an area—an entire city block, say—and if everyone agrees, in principle, that the "enclosed" area is commonly owned, then the entire bounded region can be considered a single, sprawling, shared "home" of sorts, and is therefore not technically "outdoors."

An obvious spirit-of-the law violation. If you're not supposed to work, and that means not carrying things around outside, then stringing a wire around some phone poles doesn't make it suddenly OK. But they don't stop there, they even engineer special appliances to break their rules for them:

Sabbath law prohibits Jews from performing actions that cause a direct reaction; that would qualify as forbidden work. But indirect reactions are, well, kosher. In Hebrew, this concept is called the gramma. There are two types of grammas, Ottensoser tells me. Say you hit a light switch, but it doesn't come on immediately - that's a time delay, a time gramma. There's also a gramma of mechanical indirectness, like a Rube Goldberg contraption in which a mouse turns a wheel that swings a hammer that turns a key that launches a rocket.

Again, what a thin pretense. There's a time delay between flipping the switch, and the light coming on, therefore it isn't against the rules? Why can't people just live their lives, treat people well, and stop using an invisible man in the sky as a crutch? What's the point of claiming to be, for example, Jewish, if you then turn around and work so hard to ignore the rules in a "kosher" way?

Comments:

What's the point?
2006-05-12 13:29 - kathaclysm

I totally agree... but there's people who believe that the law is infallible, and must be adhered to the letter, even if it's impractical in this day/age.

I also find it funny that in some sects of Judaism women are required to cover their hair, and so women get around this by wearing wigs. Hey, their own hair is covered right? That's what the law says!

Free Ipod!!
2006-05-16 22:54 - arantius

And this must be the topper, a church is giving away an ipod to attract members. The article is unclear on the finer details, but that much is obvious. What's the point of getting a member that's just coming for the free gear? Idiotic...

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