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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Purim and Chillul Hashem

It is that time of year again when a lot of Orthodox Jews will get drunk to the point of "not knowing the difference between blessing Mordecai and cursing Haman". They will end up doing a lot of stupid and dangerous things. But worse than that they would create a huge chillul hashem.

Maybe I am too harsh on Jewish people during Purim. I have always hated drinking and drugs. I have never used drugs in my life, never plan to, nor do I ever get drunk in my life. I do drink though, I drink a lot, I drink because I like the taste of pain, and the burning feeling as it goes down my throat. But that is the only reason why I drink. I even used to drink in high school. But I was always responsible. Thus, perhaps I am so anti-Purim drinking because I have always despised intoxication.

But I do not think I am being harsh on them. If Jewish people drank (or did drugs, as I am sure a lot of teenagers do on Purim) within their own community then that would be different. The problem is that this is not the case. Many of Jews, especially teenagers, do stupid things in public. This is clearly a bad image for the Jewish people. What do you think the doctors think when they get a few Jewish people called in because they drank too much?

Purim is the time of the year of huge chillul hashem. The time when we are going to see Jewish people do really dumb things. But moreover is that this is encouraged by some Rabbis. Not just Rabbis, this is encouraged by the Mishna Brura. This is just another fine example of how religion can make good people do terrible and stupid things.

Since I am talking about chillul hashem I want to mention that in general a chillul hashem is created whenever Jews follow some commandment which looks strange (or immoral) in front of people. This is often created when Jewish people try to express their Jewishness. I will give some examples of this.

I do not think that wearing your titzis out or even wearing a tallis is a chillul hashem. It looks funny, sure, but I do not imagine that people look at Jews and think something terrible of them simply because they look funny. I cannot tell how non-Jewish people look at Jews, I am Jewish myself, so I have no idea what is going through their head. However, I know what I think of Muslim girls who wear the hijab. I go to a college that has a lot of Muslims. I never think anything bad of these Muslim girls. Some of them are nice people. I had one in my topology class and we got along well. Speaking for myself I do not develop a dislike to Muslims simply because they look funny. I do see them as dressing funny and furthermore I do think that the hijab is a dress of oppression. It is there to subconsciously remind the woman that she should be subordinate to the will of the man. However, I do not develop a hatred to the Muslim girl when I see her in a hijab. This is why I think that people do not develop a hatred to the Jew simply because he dresses funny.

People develop a hatred for Jews for other reasons. For example, if a male Jew refuses to shake the hand of a female partner or co-worker because he is restricted by halacha. This is a commandment, like said above, that is perceived as immoral by the people. This is what makes many people dislike the Jews. Another example would be getting too much concerned about kosher food at some restaurant that offers kosher food. I am not talking about asking whether the food is kosher or not, but asking follow up questions, to who exactly touched the food, and which Rabbi approves of it, so on and so forth. This is something that can make the owners feel insulted and create a chillul hashem.

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