Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Spring Training For Pinchas. First up, DovBear!

Okay – I'm pumped! I've been invited to blog as part of a new mega-blog (stay tuned!) and I've got to get in shape - even if spring is months away. The Blogosphare – especially the JBlog world is like overtime in a Red Wing's game. Fast, cut-throat and brutal. (Okay well it's really not. It's more like Jewish singles barbecue on a Sunday afternoon in July, but I'm pumping myself up, remember?)

The truth is I'm not the confrontational type. But I'm not the type to sit quietly while Jews post misguided, uninformed statements all over the Internet, either. And so I'm reluctantly stepping into an arena I enjoyed much more from the sidelines.

I've once tangoed (not on this blog) with Jewschool and Jewlicous – but they picked those debates – not me. So this is unchartered territory from me. Yet, I'll have to get used to it if I want to bring it up a notch and be involved in some serious blogging.

Enter DovBear. Nothing personal. I read your blog. I disagree often. I acknowledge you are a well respected valiant warrior that always makes his case admirably. Many are swayed by your thorough arguments. I am not. And now and in the future I will tell you why.

Perhaps I will get clocked by the first fastball but here I am stepping up to the plate.

To begin, DovBear asked six foolish questions about a Yeshiva World post which speaks of the Gedolim advising their followers to "distance" themselves from El Al after the airline lands planes on Shabbos last week. YW also posts a brief story about an El Al plane making an emergency landing this week shorly after the warnings and the actions of those on board. See those posts for more details.

Here I answer DovBear's questions. His words are in italics. Mine in bold.

First question: What were all those machers doing on the plane in the first place, if they think "flying on shabbos one time" = "fiery crash" + "hundreds of dead innocents?"

Who said it "equals fiery crash" – you are exaggerating a statement made by Hagoen R’ Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita on his own – not the Vaad Limishmeres Shabbos.

And who said they are all "machers." Perhaps they were like you – skeptics! Have you ever heard Abie Rottenberg's "The Atheist Convention in L.A."?

Furthermore read the wording very carefully. Anyone that learns gemarah knows every word Gedolim say is weighed and the language is very precise. The exact language did not say completely boycott El Al but to “distance oneself from El Al." Much like the Torah does not write "do not lie" but rather "distance yourself from falsehood." There are cases where lies are needed and there are cases when flying El Al would still be allowed.

Moreover Dovbear's assumption that the Vaad Limishmeres Shabbos called on the public to distance themselves from El Al because it's dangerous is flat out ridiculous and does not stem from clear unbiased logic. I am not aware of the reason they gave nor is DovBear according to the information he quoted. For all we know they plan to boycott the airline to stand up for Torah values. If a Jewish airline desecrates the Shabbos we don't need to go out of our way to fly with it. Period.

They were stuck because of economics? Well guess what. Now they get to learn another economics lesson – they will now lose way more money by flying on Shabbos than had they done the right thing and canceled the flight.

Second question: How'd that conversation go? Can you imagine it? Talk about Awkward: "Umm, R' Shteinman? Yeh, it's me. Yossi. Anyway, you know how you said no one should fly El-Al? Well, funny story, but I'm on an El-Al plane right now, and there's been some engine trouble, and, well, you know how you cured Bubbi Sarah's cancer? I'm sort of hoping you can do the same type of thing and take the whammy off El-Al --at least until I get to NY. Let the next bunch of travellers suffer, ok?"

Or maybe... "Hi, it's me DovBear. I thought all you Gedolim were quacks but how about that? I'll be a good boy now."

Third Question: How much schar did R' Shteinman get for not screaming "TOLD YOU SO!" at the top of his lungs? The temptation to gloat had to have been pretty high.

To be fair Rav Shteinman, Shlita – was not the one that said it's “Pikuach Nefashos to fly with El Al.”

Fourth Question: If El-Al makes it through the next several weeks without having a crash, do we say (a) the Gedolim were wrong? or (b) the Gedolim were right but El Al did teshuva?

No. We say (c) DovBear made an incorrect assumption about why the Vaad Limishmeres Shabbos said not to fly. See my answer to number 1.

Fifth Question: If El-Al has a crash, and hundreds are killed do we say (a) God changed his mind about not punishing the innocent with the guilty; or (b) Everyone's guilty of something.

(a) "G-d is not a man that He should lie, nor a mortal that He should change His mind." (Numbers 23:19)
(b) You're assuming you have to be guilty to be killed in a plane crash. You're also assuming being killed in a plane crash is necessarily a punishment. That is a very simplistic Christian notion. Learn some of the Musser seforim that discuss this topic for the Jewish position of this issue.
(I recommend this and this.)

Sixth Question: Will I go to hell if I write on my blog that it was terribly irresponsible for the Gedolim to suggest that El-Al planes are unsafe, and all of their passangers are (until further notice) in danger, just because some tinok shenishba company executive permitted a plane to land on shabbos?

The Gedolim never said that – you just reached your own conclusion. (As for Hagoen R’ Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita – do you have the context of that statement or are you making assumptions there too?)

Second of all, whether or not the El Al company executive is a tinok shenishba is completely irrelevant. The Chardi public that flies El Al is NOT tinok shenishba and if they don't make a stand against this desecration perhaps they will be sinning.

On a related note presumably that executive (who should be canned) is familiar with the rule "the customer is always right." (Actually, being a short sighted Israeli he probably doesn't know it.) The customer does not want your planes flying on Shabbos – you oblige.

Finally El Al and all its employees should certainly know better! They certainly understand they are offending religious Jews. They dug they're own grave and should suffer the consequences of a boycott.

What's that noise I hear? Tower Air revving up its old planes?

So? How'd I do, DovBear?


Anonymous josh said...

I'm not Haredi, but I'm supporting the mini-boycott to distance myself from ELAL, my usual favourite for trips.

Lat week's flying on shabbat was not a precedent, in fact they conisistantly fly on shabbat in the sense that it is not rare for a plane to leave its origin knowing full well that it won't arrive by shabbat - religious people are warned, I do not know if everyone is warned. This past shabbat might have only been another occasion when they decide to actually operate on shabbat.

Given that,
I've long ago starte ordering 'glatt' meals on ELAL even though I eat 'rabanut' at home and in restaurants. You see, the hashgacha on the meals ends at the truck from the factory kitchen. Once it gets to the plane, there is no hashgacha on preparation, most importantly the heating of the meat and dairy. Absolutely no one can confirm if the ovens are not used on shabbat, and especially, no one can confirm that nothing treif has ever been heated up in the ovens, and since we know that the vast majority of ELAL flight staff is secular, we can also assume that 'experiments' have been made on occasion.

So, distance yourself from ELAL, and if you have to fly, then order yourself a glatt meal.

5:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you so sure that DB won't flatten you with an uppercut by declaring that he didn't write that stuff but borrowed it (maybe) from other blogs!?

7:41 PM  
Blogger Pinchas said...

Yes Anonymous, I'm quite sure he won't. And I'm quite sure that was DB original material.

8:24 AM  

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