The silliness of shabbos

Not long ago I was trying to explain the “Sabbath elevators” in Israel to my Catholic aunt. She just kept looking at me like, “You gotta be sh/£&%g me!” Too bad she doesn’t have a computer, or I’d send her this video. It’s really crazy what observant Jews won’t do on Saturday, and the ingenious ways they invent in order to get around the system.

Which means they either think G-d is a bumpkin, or they just pretend to believe in His Omniscience in reverence to Tradition.

6 thoughts on “The silliness of shabbos

  1. I think it’s a symptom of a key difference between Judaism and Christianity. Christians are told that their god/s can read their minds and get them for things they thought but didn’t even act on, whereas some adherents of Judaism seem to think the whole point is to rise to the challenge of god’s laws and outsmart him: how to keep to the letter of the law while violating its spirit to the maximum. Did you ever watch TV in Israel during Shabbat? Notice the “tzulam beyom chol” (“filmed on a weekday”) that appears over any interview with a religiously observant person? Why bother to be explicit about that if nobody else observant could be watching at that time? Many will watch broadcasts they couldn’t catch live as a recording made by timer. Others won’t play that game. If they’re religious enough, they won’t have TV at all (though they might well have a computer that will let them see everything TV might). A source of never-ending shocking amusement. How about fulfilling the command to relax on Shabbat by sitting around till late after dinner on Friday night – until someone goes “Shit, the lights are set to go out on in a couple of minutes!” Then the relaxation turns into a panicky rush to get tables cleared and the bathroom used before it all has to be done in the dark. And the frustrating fact that even if a candle is still burning in the dining room, you’re not allowed to pick it up and move it to where you need light in order to get ready for bed. On the plus side, those who love cholent must be thankful; it might never have developed otherwise.

  2. As a vegetarian, I can’t give you a simple yes/no answer. I mean, the real deal is a meat dish, which I have never tasted. There are vegetarian variations, some of which I have found delicious. It’s not mythical, though, and, as you may know, in Hebrew it is called “chamin.” It does seem to be the long cooking time that makes it what it is. A bit like left-overs of some dishes seem to taste much better a day later than when they were fresh. I innocently attribute it to the ingredients having had more of a chance to mix, but it’s probably really something to do with bacterial activity.

    1. By “mythical” I meant “proverbial”. It’s nearly synonymous with a lost way of life in Eastern European shtetlach. Except, of course, that some people still live that way in Monsey and Jerusalem. I need a good Jewish meal.

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