Regarding the recent trend of male ultra-Orthodox Jews causing chaos on airplanes because they refuse to sit next to women, Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin expresses frustration with his fellow “chosen people”:
First, I invite someone to show me the passages in the Torah, Talmud, or the rest of the 2,000-year-old rabbinic tradition where it says: “Thou shalt not sit next to women on public conveyances.” Because I have been looking for it, or something like it, and I have been unsuccessful.
I know what many ultra-Orthodox Jews would say. All men have a “yetzer ha-ra,” an evil inclination, libidinal thoughts. To sit next to a woman would be too much temptation.
But why is that the problem of the woman who is innocently sitting on an airplane, just trying to get to her final destination, and the airplane flight crew? It simply cannot be that ultra-Orthodox men are so immature, helpless, and insecure that they cannot control their inclinations for five, 10, or 12 hours. Here’s an antidote: read books, especially holy books. Listen to music. Take a nap.
It’s a sorely-needed rebuttal to a ludicrous faith-based demand. Read the full piece at Religion News Service.
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