Friday, April 24, 2009
Don't Seat Me In The Back Of The Bus!
Sorry, I couldn't find an illustration of a modern bus, of the types used here in Israel, but this one does have the same basic proportions.
In recent years there has been a very disturbing trend in Israel. Chareidi Jews, those who look for extreme ways of interpreting Jewish Law, have succeeded in getting the public bus companies to establish "separate seating routes."
I'm a religious, Torah-observant Jew and I don't see what's so holy in pushing women to the limited seats in the back of the bus. In these buses married couples are forbidden to sit together. Even if one of the couple is sick or infirm, his/her spouse must desert the needy partner or other passengers attack them.
Most bus seating arrangements are like this illustration. There are many more seats in the front of the bus, so it's very common for women to be forced to stand while the men are seated one to a two-passenger seat.
Now, I don't know what Torah these guys obey, but in their zeal not to look at women, they ignore those who need help. That is a much bigger sin than walking through an aisle in which women are sitting on both sides.
I'd like to hear some rabbis quoting Jewish Law opposing these discriminatory buses. It really bothers me that the non-Chareidi Torah rabbis allow the Chareidi ones to make up laws. I don't see the Chareidim as more authentically Jewish as us ordinary religious Torah Jews. Actually, it's the opposite. They've adopted very Christian attitudes.
The Chareidim have set up Jewish monasteries, differing only in that the yeshiva students are encouraged to marry and have children. Our forefathers and Chazal, wise men, always worked at professions. The great mitzah is to "work for six days and rest for the seventh." Studying theory isn't work.
Chodesh Tov and Shabbat Shalom
Have a Good Month and A Peaceful Shabbat