Eating Fake Bacon Is Nauseating
Last week, you published several responses on the propriety of eating imitation bacon, imitation crab, and similar foods. I personally find it anathema to devour a beefburger with a faux cheese slice on top; eat a slice of Pesach pizza; or drink a glass of soy milk with flanken.
Why should a Jew try to emulate the eating habits of gentiles? Why should he want to say, “Hey, I’m just like you!”?
It doesn’t matter if eating faux shrimp, faux bacon, or a faux cheeseburger is halachically permissible. Philosophically, there’s something wrong with it. The Torah tells us not to eat certain foods so that we remember we’re Jews, not gentiles. Each day we avoid treif food that beckons like a pig that shows off its cloven hooves as if to say, “See, I’m not treif” when it, in fact, is.
The Torah’s laws serve as moral lessons, and adhering to their exegetical interpretation allows us to be Jews each and every day.
What About Anti-Vaxxers’ Victims?
Could Dr. Rachelle Meth, author of last week’s op-ed titled “Are Vaccine Advocates Telling The Whole Truth?,” kindly answer the following question for me?:
To those who choose not to immunize their children for fear of causing them harm, what protection do others have when they come in contact with individuals who have not been immunized and who are therefore, in effect, “innocent victims” of these anti-vaxxers?
Despite being immunized for whooping cough I, a senior citizen, contracted it three years ago. As a result, my immune system remains compromised. It goes without saying that my quality of life has been sorely affected as well.
I am outraged!
Fighting Our Internal Enemies Is Wrong
In his op-ed last week, Rabbi Yehuda Levin refers to Hellenist Jews as Hashem’s children but then proceeds to debase these very children. Based on his comments that 80 percent of the Jewish people were killed in Egypt and that we must purge inauthentic Judaism from ourselves, it’s not much of a leap to say that Rabbi Levin does not welcome “enlightened” Jews.
Yet, while many problems have arisen from the non-believers in our midst, we are not G-d and it is not for us to wage war against them. We, as Orthodox Jews, should try to help those who are different from us without becoming influenced by them. That’s what kiruv is all about.
It’s true that the Maccabees restored glory to the Beis Hamikdash, but things didn’t work out so well afterwards. The leadership of Klal Yisrael and the kehunah were consolidated in Matisyahu’s family, which led to a long civil war.
Until Moshiach comes, it’s not our job to fight the fighters. Our Torah and mitzvos can outshine “enlightened” Jews who want to make trouble for Jews in the courts. Let’s keep it at that.
Chaim Yehuda Meyer
Israel Cannot Rely on the World
The danger in Israel making concessions based on guarantees that international peace forces will secure its borders was evident this week when UNIFIL failed to discover, much less prevent, the construction of Hezbollah terror tunnels into Israel.
Another example of international failure to protect Israel was the UN’s infamous withdrawal from the Sinai in May 1967 as Egypt threatened Israel with annihilation.
Israel can only depend on itself and follow the admonition of “Chazak, chazak, v’nitchazak!”
We Will Sorely Miss Rabbi Kassin
It was a shock to all of us. Rabbi Saul Kassin passed away at age 97 years old, leaving behind a loving wife, nine children, and a community of Syrian-Jewish mourners.
We lost our leader. We also lost someone who knew us well and was always there to help with a gentle manner and an iron fist. He taught the community at large Torah and inspired many young men to become more religious.
I had the privilege of hearing his speeches on many occasions. He was a great Torah giant who inspired many of today’s Jewish leaders to learn more and do more.
Hopefully, the rabbis who try to fill the void Rabbi Kassin’s passing has left will emulate him and speak to community members on their own terms and let them learn at their own pace. Hopefully, they will teach classes on all levels with more time to ask thought-provoking questions. That’s how many learn Torah.
Immoral Crusade Doesn’t Trump Religious Freedom
The Vaad Harabanim of Flatbush deserves high praise for threatening to pull the hechsher of Garden of Eat-In in Flatbush if it went ahead with plans to host a performance by a homosexual comedian on New Year’s Eve. And Garden of Eat-In deserves much support for canceling the performance.
The comedian responded to the Vaad’s move by saying, “They operate like the mafia…I am being stripped of my basic human and civil rights.” She also said she had a “long conversation” with a human rights lawyer who called her.
Her response is typical of the LGBT crowd. She seems to be despondent over Orthodox circles not tolerating her performance as an open homosexual, yet she herself is not at all tolerant of others’ religious beliefs.
Nobody is stripping her of “basic human and civil rights.” She can go on being a homosexual; nobody is stopping her. It is she who’s trying to strip the Orthodox community of its basic right to practice and guard its religion.
Religious rights are as guaranteed by the Constitution as the right to behave as one wishes (although I question whether the founders of this country ever dreamt that sexual perversion would become a legal issue such that they would have considered explicitly banning it.)
I suggest that lawyers familiar with the proceedings step up and defend the Vaad Harabanim and Garden of Eat-In, pro bono, if the matter should ever wind up in court. Abrogation of religious freedom by, of all things, some twisted notion that sexual perversion takes legal precedence over religious freedom is an insanity that must be stopped.