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Jewish Eruv

Posted by RIP Joe Bloe , 27 July 2011 · 837 views

Nobody complained about the commandment in Exodus 20:10 which told people not to work on the Sabbath. They were quite happy to take the day off and spend some leisure time with friends and relations, but the priests were mightily pissed off – Jews were walking around in the sunshine enjoying themselves - it had to stop! So they went back to the bible and in Exodus 16:29 they found a rule saying that everybody must stay indoors on the Sabbath.

It looked like the priests were back in control, but then somebody noticed that Exodus 16:29 was contained within the context of “manna from heaven”. God was saying that he would provide a double ration of manna on the sixth day, so there was no need to go outside with a receptacle for gathering manna on the seventh day. In other words, where Exodus 16:29 said “Let no man go out of his place on the seventh day,” what it really meant was, “Let no man go out of his place with a receptacle in his hand.”

The priests were beaten again; the Jews were still able to go out and about on the Sabbath – they just weren’t allowed to carry anything. It could be tricky though: If you had a cold, you couldn’t carry a handkerchief, so you had to stay indoors. If the baby was too young to walk, you couldn’t carry her to visit Grandma, you had to stay at home. New rules were invented almost daily and it was becoming very difficult for a devout Jew to get outside on the Sabbath:

* Is that a bandage on your finger? Get back indoors!
* Hey grandpa, is that a walking stick in your hand? Back inside you miserable sinner!

By the time of Jeremiah it seems the Jews had found another loophole in the law and decided that as long as they remained within the city walls, they were still “indoors” (technically speaking) and therefore they were permitted to carry things on the Sabbath providing they did not go outside the city wall. (Jeremiah 17:19-27). By the Middle Ages, however, there were Jews living in cities without a boundary wall so the loophole was no longer applicable and people found themselves stuck inside again.

And then along came Rabbi David Kimchi (aka The Radak). He suggested that the boundary wall (known as an eruv) didn’t have to be made of bricks and stone. It would be OK, he said, to stick a few poles in the ground, string a wire across the top – and hey presto – instant eruv. The Jews could carry things outside their houses as long as they stayed within the boundaries of the eruv.

But all of this was happening thousands of years ago – surely the Jews of the 21st century are no longer behaving so stupidly? Oh yes they are!

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And check out some of the rules they have come up with recently. Can you imagine being in the committee room listening to adult human beings seriously discussing what is and is not allowed inside an eruv:

* Normal clothes are OK
* Medical devices like plaster casts, bandages and glasses are OK
* In some eruvs, walking sticks and wheelchairs are not permitted.
* Loose medicine is not permitted – but if someone suffers a medical crisis it is OK for someone else to go home and get the medicine for the sick person.
* Men can wear a watch, but only if other people can see it – it must not be covered by a sleeve.
* Opening an umbrella is analogous to erecting a tent, so umbrellas cannot be carried.
* A ball (or anything else) can be carried during a sporting contest, but not if the player is likely to make a hole or a rut in the playing surface.
* Exercise (with weights) is OK if it is done for pure pleasure, but not for medical or health reasons.

What a bunch of morons!

If it was not stupid it would be self evident and then it would not be called dogma.

Mere facts have no requirement for divine revelation or theological interpretation, you need bullshit to create a candidate for dogma.

True Dogma™ must always be stupid in order to differentiate it from trivial things like facts or reality.

After all, if a person expects to derive any bragging rights about how faithful they are it will be necessary to espouse obviously ridiculous bullshit, because if you are only dealing with objective reality anybody could believe that!

Faith is to reality as fairy tales are to facts.