Rabbi Tells Doctors “Don’t Treat Non-Jews on the Sabbath!”

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef  – if you’re sick on Shabbat – you need to be Jewish!  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef has excelled himself this time

Just when you thought that it would be impossible for him to come up with sayings more idiotic than those he previously uttered, he surprises you with something new.

According to a report in YNET  the “learned”rabbi came up with this gem:

“the spiritual leader of Shas said that while doctors are expected to do everything in their power – even if it requires violating the Sabbath – in order to save Jews whose lives are in danger, the same does not apply for gentiles.”

Of course, this places religious doctors in a real dilemma. A conflict between their Hippocratic oath and Halacha (Jewish religious law). And then, there is their contract with the state:

” The doctors’ license says they must treat all patients without distinction of faith or race, and if they don’t, the State could revoke their license and also punish them” 

Apart from any other considerations, the mere fact that anyone, especially a rabbi, can think and utter such thoughts, is a Public Relations disaster of the highest magnitude for the State of Israel . That this is his opinion, and his alone, gets lost in the media coverage. Israel’s enemies, of which there are many, seize on anything that can cast the state in a bad light.

It’s difficult to imagine anything much worse than this.

The horror of the vast majority of Israeli society to such thoughts is no different from that in the rest of the civilised world. But it would be an uphill struggle to try to get this fact across.

Man’s inhumanity to man is well documented in history, on both small and large scales. It does not need the added stimulus of religious interpretation and edict to make a bad situation even worse. Religion has been responsible for enough tragedy; and now it seems that the spark of religious intolerance continues to glow brightly in the mind of this nonagenarian.

There is, however, a postscript to this story.

Yosef, in an effort to ameliorate the severity of such a ruling, did propose a solution: “ The rabbi offered a halachic solution that follows a rule by which if a single person is doing the act, he is violating the Sabbath, while if two people are doing it together, they are exempt.”

Image of a surgeon operating on a patient. فار...

Two hands are better than one – but at the SAME time?…. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“The doctor who needs to operate will call on another doctor, or nurse, to hold the scalpel together and make the incision,” said Rabbi Yosef, saying that “it is necessary in order for religious physicians to refrain from being put on trial for distinguishing between a Jew and a gentile on Sabbath.”

Maybe he should just stick to religion.

His knowledge of medical procedures leaves a lot to be desired.

Andyboy – Telling it as it is!



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“God – It’s Andyboy. How Do You Deal With Claustrophobic Sinners?”

Confessional box, Holy Family Roman Catholic C...

Honestly, God, would you like to be stuck inside one of these? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I think you need to open a Facebook page, or a Twitter account.

Mark Zuckerberg, Founder & CEO of Facebook, at...

Zuckerberg – maybe you could use his help,,,,,,,, (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It may have escaped your attention, considering all the other things that are occupying your time, but we are living in the second decade of the 21st century. You need to catch up with the technology.

The reason that I am saying this is that, over the past couple of weeks, I have availed myself of the confessional service that you provide through some of your messengers.

In case they didn’t report back to you – I’m not sure that they ever do – I will tell you that I got into hot water over some remarks I made about the religious leaders of your Chosen People“, and, also, about the leaders of your not so chosen people ( the Muslims).  At least, I assume they are not so chosen, based upon their attitudes and actions. I must admit that, as a fully practicing Atheist, I have some difficulty in understanding if Jehovah and Allah are actually the same. Are they both you, or is it a family business, and you’re just related?

Anyway, that is not really the issue now.

The point is that, as I simply didn’t have the time to wait for the Day of Atonement to come round in 5 months or so, I thought I would try out the service offered by the competition. It seemed that “absolution on demand’ would be the easiest solution to my problem.

Being new to this game, I was not really prepared for the fact that it would involve me entering a dark, un-ventilated and somewhat smelly wooden box carrying the residual odours of the previous occupants. It seemed to me to be somewhat lacking in the sense of spiritual serenity I had anticipated. But then, I asked myself, “why should I expect 5 star luxury in a space reserved for sinners?”

Then it occurred to me, how do you deal with claustrophobic sinners?  

Is leaving the door open, or not drawing the curtain, sufficient? And what about privacy? Or is it that those suffering from this condition are just stuck with their sins forever, as if you didn’t give them enough of a problem anyway?

So I got to thinking, about applying some 21st century technology? Maybe you could create a Facebook page, or a Twitter account, or, even, an Internet Website.  And this would solve the problem, not only for those fearing confined spaces, but, also, for those who don’t want to leave the comfort of their home to deal with something about which they feel uncomfortable in any case.

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...

How about an APP for sinners?…….Image via CrunchBase

You could even create an i-Phone or Android Application! Absolution with a swipe of the finger! You could call it “an App for sinners”, and it could get you a lot more clients.

I assume that you would not be deterred by the fact that you would have to use the services created by Jews like Zuckerberg and Brinn. They are working with a primarily non-Jewish market already, so it shouldn’t put you off. By the way, now could be a good time to get connected to Facebook. If you’re quick, you may even be able to get a piece of he action. I’m sure you could pull a few strings, and your messengers on Earth could always use a few extra bucks.

So, give it thought, and let me know your conclusion. You can always find me at the URL above.

I will assume that if I don’t hear from you, it will be confirmation that you don’t actually exist.

Either that, or you simply prefer to stick with the traditional system, and to hell with claustrophobes.


Andyboy – Telling it as it is.

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“Forgive Me Father – For I Have Sinned!”

And this is my first ever confession!

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

Looking for a better deal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, you will understand, I’m a bit new to the concept. From what I’ve seen in movies or on TV, the process is quite simple. I enter the confessional box and talk to you through a lattice screen. I tell you what a naughty boy I’ve been and after you’ve listened to all the juicy bits you tell me my punishment, and the slate is wiped clean.

Seems like a good system, and certainly an improvement on the original Jewish model. But then your lot had the benefit of hindsight. I guess it’s always easier to improve on an idea than create it from scratch. You understood that one of the most important aspects of marketing a new religion was that it must offer advantages over the old one.

You realised from the outset that the Jews idea of atoning for their sins once a year was never going to work in the more easygoing. laid back approach of Christianity. Just too many sins , and no-one could be expected to save them up for a whole twelve months! So you came up with the brilliant idea – absolution on demand!

As many sins as you can cram into a week, eliminated in a moment, and freedom to start on the next batch of naughtiness.

Which brings me to the reason why I’m here. You see, the next Jewish Day of Atonement isn’t for another 5 months, and I just can’t wait that long.

So, what is my sin? Well, I’ve been accused of being beastly to the Haredim. You know, those sects of Jews who wear strange clothes in the style of Polish noblemen of the 16th and 17th centuries. They also have some very strange customs and traditions which they claim must be followed to the letter if you want to honour God.

OK, I know that your people do a few strange things as well (not all of which get found out and reported) – but I don’t even want to go there. If you want a wafer to be holy and wine to represent blood, be my guest. But that’s only two things. The Haredim follow 613 mitzvot or commandments plus thousands of interpretations of how they should be carried out. From the moment of waking to the moment of sleeping, their lives operate within a framework of restrictions that are incomprehensible to normal human beings.

I wrote a few articles on my blog pointing out some of these strange actions, but I have been told that I was being unfair.

The Ten Commandments, In SVG

The first ten commandments - only another 603 to go! Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After all, if it is critical for them that their toilet block cleaner doesn’t emit colour so as not to desecrate the Sabbath, who am I to question? And if the knife being used to cut an onion was also used in the previous 24 hours to cut meat, then why should I care that this onion is no longer Kosher and cannot be used with certain foods.

They just need to pray (well, they DO do a lot of that), that their eyeglasses don’t break on the Sabbath, because that’s a real bummer. If the side falls off and you find the screw, anyway you can’t use it – it’s forbidden to turn anything on the Sabbath. If you find a piece if wire, you can use that, as long as you don’t try to wind it round the joint – winding is forbidden also. If it’s just that the lens popped out of the rim, you can put it back, as long as you don’t use any pressure – pressure is another no-no on the Sabbath.

I know that I don’t have time to list the other 600+ criteria, and, anyway, if I do that it just makes matters worse.

I guess that my real problem is, I don’t really feel repentant for drawing attention to a fraction of the absurdities which govern the lives of so many people.  I do feel sorry for the women and children who are trapped, and doomed to live in unremitting servitude – but, then, you don’t have too much first hand experience of either women or children, do you?

Do You?

So that’s it. Not really much of a confession for a first attempt, I suppose.

By the way, do you accept Atheists in this game?

And, what, exactly IS a “Hail Mary”?


Andyboy – Telling it as it is!

Easter and Passover – From an Atheist Perspective

The God of the Jews is, indeed, a malevolent monster – 

If one takes the story of the Jewish exodus from Egypt at its face value.

And yet, at the same time,  impotent, if one accepts the Christian story of Easter.

Since both of these stories are being remembered on this weekend, it is a good opportunity to look at them together.

The Israelites Leaving Egypt

The Israelites Leaving Egypt (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Firstly, what is it that the Jews are actually commemorating at Passover? They are celebrating the release of the Jews, or Israelites, from their conditions of slavery under the Egyptians. Of course, the emphasis is on the freedom itself, rather than how the freedom was obtained.

As the fable is told, the Jews called upon their God to make Pharaoh (the Egyptian leader) “an offer he couldn’t refuse.” And God responded by causing a series of calamities and disasters to fall upon the Egyptian people, in ever increasing degrees of severity.

The Plagues of Egypt (Hebrewמכות מצרים, Makot Mitzrayim), also called the Ten Plagues (Hebrewעשר: המכות, Eser Ha-Makot) or the Biblical Plagues, were ten calamities that, according to the biblical Book of Exodus, Israel’s God, Yahweh, inflicted upon Egypt to persuade Pharaoh to release the ill-treated Israelites from slavery. Pharaoh capitulated after the tenth plague, triggering the Exodus of the Jewish people.(1)

It seems that the Egyptians were a resilient people, and managed to survive plagues 1 to 9 – but it was the tenth one that was the clincher.

The plagues as they appear in the Bible are:

  1. Water, which turned to blood and killed all fish and other aquatic life (Exodus 7:14–25 )
  2. Frogs (Exodus 8:1–8:15 )
  3. Lice (Exodus 8:16–19 )
  4. Flies or wild animals (Exodus 8:20–30 )
  5. Disease on livestock (Exodus 9:1–7 )
  6. Unhealable boils (Exodus 9:8–12 )
  7. Hail and thunder (Exodus 9:13–35 )
  8. Locusts (Exodus 10:1–20 )
  9. Darkness (Exodus 10:21–29 )
  10. Death of the first-born of all Egyptian humans and animals.(Exodus 11 , Exodus 12 )

The Jews are supposed to have prevented this last disaster from affecting them by, on God’s instruction, killing an unblemished lamb, and smearing its blood on the doorposts  of their homes, before cooking and eating the unfortunate animal. (The “unblemished” aspect was deemed very important, so imperfect lambs were spared for God knows what). Then, as the “Angel of Death” passed over the homes (hence “Passover”) it would ignore the Jews and just visit God’s wrath on the Egyptian babies.

So, after God’s final offer, Pharaoh thought “enough of this shit” and couldn’t wait for the Jews to to leave and go and live anywhere but Egypt. And the Jews had to put up with this *NIMBY attitude for the better part of the next 3000 years!

Israel's Escape from Egypt, illustration from ...

Made a great movie!
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Of course, there is much more to the story of this exodus of the Jews, with exciting special effects, such as the famous “parting of the Red Sea” after Pharaoh changed his mind and chased after his departing slaves. And, then there were various other phenomena that Hollywood has portrayed so graphically.  Actually, I think that God  had this possibility in mind all the time. He foresaw that this story could make  great cinema, and a lot of money for those Jewish movie moguls who understood its potential.

But the inconvenient truth is that, what the Jews are celebrating tonight is really a confirmation of  Richard Dawking’s description of the Jewish God:

The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.

(Yes, I know I’ve quoted this before, but it bears repeating)

So, what are Christians commemorating at this time?

Of course, another fable, different from Passover, but no less bizarre, in its own way.

The Galitzin Triptych: Christ on the Cross

"Don't worry - I'll be back! " (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am referring to the supposed resurrection of a dead body back to full health. Not content with inventing a biological impossibility regarding the birth of Jesus, they now invented a further biological impossibility regarding his death – or the lack of it:

In the New Testament, after the Romans crucified Jesus, he was buried in a new tomb, but God raised him from the dead and he appeared to many people over a span of forty days before his ascension to Heaven, to sit at the Right Hand of God. Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday, the third day after Good Friday, the day of his crucifixion. Easter’s date corresponds roughly with Passover, the Jewish observance associated with the Exodus, that is fixed for the night of the Full moon near the time of the equinox.(2)

From this it would appear that the God of the New Testament did not have the same powers as his predecessor. It’s true that he has been able to make the gullible believe in his power to restore life, but he seems to have restricted that power to family members only. And has yet to explain why he permitted “his only son” to be crucified in such a cruel and terrible way.

All this “Jesus died to redeem mankind from its sins” and similar facile explanations doesn’t really explain God’s impotence in the first place.

So, as Jews sit at the “seder” table tonight, trying to digest the matzos and mountains of food, whilst thanking God for their deliverance, Christians will be preparing for their slog along the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem, with some Jesus lookalike dragging a large, heavy wooden cross, and wishing he’d never volunteered for the gig.

And we Atheists can observe all of this with a mixture of cynical disbelief, and, perhaps, a tinge of sadness, at the frailty of mankind in its quest to eagerly grasp at any straw in its search for  – what exactly?

Andyboy – Telling it as it is!


(1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plagues_of_Egypt

(2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resurrection_of_Jesus

*NIMBY – Not In My Back Yard

“God – It Seems That My Toilet Is Not Kosher!”

A further example of the absurdity of Orthodox religious belief

In previous articles I have cited a few examples of the self imposed strictures that ultra- Orthodox Jews have created in their quest for satisfying the ever expanding demands of their rabbis.

Within their communities they have appointed leaders who have been charged with the task of determining Halachic solutions to problems that they encounter in the modern world.

There is no end to the creativity that is applied in crafting answers, and once a solution has been found and accepted, those responsible are praised for the brilliance of their intellect in solving the apparently insoluble. However, generally, there are disagreements on the fine details, so it’s possible to be selective in choosing  the solution that best suits you.

Which brings me to the subject of “Kosher” toilets!

When you're stuck for a gift that's different!

As a secular Atheist I cannot claim to have a deep knowledge of all the thousands of limitations contained within the Halacha (Jewish religious law). However, like most Jews, I have a broad idea of some of the main features, but I had never encountered the issue of correct toilet procedures until last week.

So I am indebted to my religious son for the following anecdote – yet another true story!

Firstly, I should point out that he lives in a known religious orthodox environment and is, himself, what is termed “Modern Orthodox” (well, perhaps “Modern Unorthodox” might be more accurate, but that’s another story). He, and his family, live a “Kosher”Jewish life in all senses of the word.

Of course, all Orthodox households take the dietary restrictions very seriously, and his is no exception. Those ultra-Orthodox with the means and the space, not only have separate sections of the kitchen for milk and meat, but separate kitchens completely.

However, I had never heard of the desirability for separate toilets for Shabbat! Well, maybe that’s a little exaggerated, but you need to pay attention if you only have one.

So, let me get to the story itself.

It happened that a couple of weeks ago my son hosted a newly religious young couple on Shabbat. The “new” element is important, since these are the people who tend to extremism in following Halacha.

A few days later the young lady of the couple visited them again, and was quite excited that she was bringing them a special gift. They thought, at first, that this was a nice, if unnecessary, gesture.

Then they opened the gift.

They were amazed to discover that the “special gift” was – a scented toilet rim block!

It appears that the lady had been extremely distressed to discover on the Shabbat that their toilet was fitted with a standard toilet block that dispensed a blue dye when the toilet was flushed. This is absolutely forbidden by the Halacha, and so she was very anxious that they not continue to incur God’s wrath for a moment longer than necessary. Hence she purchased a toilet block that does not dye the water.

This is an extract from the relevant rule:

“The blue color gives the water in the bowl a more “hygienic” look, so the coloring of the water is beneficial and hence forbidden on Shabbos. It is important, therefore, that the disinfectant unit be removed from the tank or bowl before the onset of Shabbos or Yom Tov.”

Some athletic training is necessary for peeing on Shabbat!

There are some authorities that take a more practical and pragmatic approach in the circumstance in which the user may not have been aware of the disinfectant hidden in the cistern. In this situation, and in the interests of health and hygiene, it is permitted to flush the toilet in an unusual way:

“and one will be embarrassed to leave the toilet unflushed (kavod ha-beriyos), he may rely on the view of some poskim (experts) who argue that flushing such a toilet is not a violation of Coloring and he should flush the toilet in an unusual way, e.g. by using one’s elbow or foot.”

So now you know. To keep on the right side of God, or rather, his messengers on Earth, check that the toilet is Kosher before you pee.

Otherwise be prepared for some athletic contortions to get rid of the evidence!


Andyboy – Telling it as it is





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