Religion of Convenience Doesn’t Count As Being Religious
Note: Blogging from my BlackBerry Torch and WordPress for BlackBerry app keeps giving me some error when I try to post pictures so they will be added later. #WordPressForBlackBerryFAIL
See the screenshot below for the error WordPress for BlackBerry was giving me.
Beware: Discussion of religion ahead.
I was brought up in an ostensibly Modern Orthodox Jewish home. But over the years certain things I saw going on in the community where I was raised made me question whether or not the people saying they are practicing Orthodox Jews actually deserve to call themselves “religious”. I’ll be sensationalist and go so far as to say that much of the Orthodox Jewish community in many cities has devolved into nothing more than a cult.
Consider the picture above. A doorpost with an imprint of something that had clearly been hanging there for a while. That something is referred to as a “mezuza”.
***** Skip below if you don’t care what a mezuza is or already know *****
A mezuza is something that Jews put on all door posts in their houses (except bathrooms and closets). They can have many different appearances but really the most important aspect of the mezuza is inside of it. This is where there is a parchment with a couple passages from the Old Testament handwritten and rolled up inside (Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and 11:13-21). The point of affixing it is to fulfill a commandment and many stories have been told over the years of people getting sick or having bad luck and once it was realized that a mezuza at their home was not valid or Kosher and once it is fixed everything returns to normal.
***** Regular post continues now *****
Anyway, according to Orthodox Jewish law if one sells their house to another Jew they are required to leave every mezuza in the house where it is for the next occupant. As far as I know there are no ifs, ands, or buts on this rule.
Why am I telling you this? Well, because in clearing out stuff from someone’s house who is moving I noticed that most of the door posts in the house lacked a mezuza. This is a problem because the person selling the house is selling it to a Jewish couple. I called the seller to tell her and she said that the couple “don’t care” about getting the house complete with mezuzas on the door posts and that “it wasn’t in the contract to sell the house with the mezuzas.” As well, the mezuzas I thought were left behind were actually merely the casings, not the scrolls – the part of the mezuza that matters. I wondered to myself about the contract she had “signed” with God when she decided to live the life of an Orthodox Jew…did she have a special clause in her Torah/Book of Jewish Law/contract that no one else in the religion had? I doubt it.
I think about things like this and this kind of attitude and realize it is why I do not practice Orthodox Judaism. It is my experience that the people claiming to be religious and Orthodox Jews live their lives picking and choosing which laws they will follow and which they won’t. They do this while they point fingers at other forms of Judaism such as Conservative and Reform and say how they aren’t practicing “real Judaism”.
Now I have been told before – “don’t judge Judaism by the Jews” because we are all flawed and because we are human. I can agree with that concept and of course know that often times even a person who is completely and truly committed to a religion will act without thinking and make mistakes. However, I don’t think this quite qualifies. This is a coldly, rational decision not arrived upon in a heat of passion.
If you want to call yourself religious you don’t get to pick and choose which part of the religion you want to observe. It’s an all or nothing deal. At the very least, with an attitude where you get to pick which parts of the religion you like and which you don’t and conduct yourself accordingly all while pretending to be fully religious don’t be surprised when your attitude is reflected in your kids only to a greater degree. Don’t be amazed that they don’t give a damn about the religion that you do your utmost to keep up the appearance of following.
I don’t know what it is like in other religions because I have no experience in them. However, I have heard a bunch of similar stories from friends who are from other religious backgrounds.