Friend of the Blog Dan sent me this link via email, about the upcoming court case in Israel about mehadrin busses. See, here in America, we’re about 50-some years past “sitting at the back of the bus,” which has a long and distinguished pedigree of being symbolic of mistreatment and prejudice. Yet, somehow in Israel, this is allowed. And in “Ultra” Orthodox circles, this is encouraged. The article even mentions separate lines in the post office for men and women. Because we all know about all the sex that was going on in post-office lines! This is getting completely out of hand. “Religion” is being used (in a completely inappropriate way) to justify the systematic degradation and oppression of half the population. This can’t be allowed to continue. This makes “us” (I use that term because the world lumps me in with them. I put it in quotes because I have zero identification with that group.) no better than radical Muslims that force the women to walk behind the man, and wear clothing that covers everything but the pupils. One even wonders how such backward thinking can continue in modern society.
And then, the semblence of an answer comes in another email that is apparently making the rounds, since I’ve gotten it more than once: “Segullah for Parnassah – Parshas Hamon“. You see (snarky apikorsus alert), when God created the Universe, he built in some special powers. Among them was this one, that hundreds of years after the power was built, when the Torah was written down, and then hundreds of years after that, when the Torah was translated into another language, that reading the story about one time when God was gonna give the Israelites food in the desert (and they would screw it up by looking for some on Shabbos) twice in Hebrew and once in this foreign language (but not just any foreign language, this specific one from a country that destroyed the temple and exiled thousands of Jews) that would automatically, regardless of everything else the person has done, and whatever else he deserves, grant this person wealth.
That’s when I realize that the backwards thinking isn’t only with the Ultra-Orthodox. It’s with everyone who believes in this stuff. This isn’t Judaism, it’s phony, mail-order, easy-way-out religion. It’s superstition and chanting and talismans, and is close to real religion as sacrificing a virgin to Athena in hopes for a good harvest (not a real practice, but whatever you get the point).
I wonder, to close out this barely coherent rant, how the people that believe in Parshas Hamon reconcile this with what we believe about Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. On RH and YK, we daven for the upcoming year that it should be a good year, one with health and happiness and good livelihood. We believe, and this is part of the davening, that every person’s year is inscribed in advance on Rosh Hashana. So what good can parshas hamon do? My year’s already been inscribed. And that’s not even to mention the theological and philosophical impossibility of a perfect and infallible God chaning his mind.