Once again, I am overwhelmed by the evidence suggesting that we humans are always ready to do real harm in the name of a good cause. In fact, especially when it comes to religion, nothing seems to make us happier — though that fact makes me very sad. The comments around my recent post about ethics and kosher eating are simply stunning. And they would be funny, if they were not so very sad.
First, from one of the proponents of the boycott against Agriprocessors, and other producers of kosher meat, which may be abusing some of their workers:

I am shocked and disappointed by the comments posted here so far….If Isaiah were to return and visit Postville, he would be ashamed to be a Jew!

Do we really need one more person telling us what a prophet from thousands of years ago would have thought? Does this commenter really think that he knows? Does he even realize the irony of asking that question given that Isaiah would not have even understood what the word Jew meant, given that it had not been invented in his time?
Of course the rejoinder to this comment was just as bad:

If Isaiah were to visit Postville he would have preached “Dan l’chaf zchut.” (giving someone the benefit of the doubt)…And how ironic, during the three weeks preceding tisha b’av, when all Jews should be working diligently to purge sinat chinam (baseless hatred) from their words, hearts and deeds. Suggestion: Seek michilah (forgiveness) for your Postville transgressions at your shul’s observance, although from your synagogue’s website it appears as if you do not observe that day in the Jewish calendar.

Does this writer not see the irony in telling someone about giving the benefit of the doubt as he pummels them for their own misdeeds? Does he not see the absurdity of decrying hatred as he writes with such profound contempt for the religious practice of another human being, let alone a fellow Jew?

It’s no wonder that most Jews have walked away from both of your camps, even as they continue to claim great pride in their Jewishness. We can do better, and we must. But Tisha B’Av (the historic day of national Jewish mourning) is coming and I will have more to say about the use of religion in support of sacred sanctimony then.
Until then, I invite each of these characters, and the rest of us as well, to locate one way in which some other has actually mastered a piece of the tradition we love and allow that awareness to fill your hearts. Or we can keep tearing each other apart and prove the wisdom of those who say “a pox on all your houses” — sort of the exact opposite of Moses’ blessing to the Jewish people in this past week’s Torah reading, in which he promises that the world will look upon us and declare that we are a wise and discerning people. Of course, he never said when that would happen…..
How about we go for right now?
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