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 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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There are Lies. There are Damn Lies – and There are Statistics!

“Poll: 80% of Israeli Jews Believe in God”

“Extensive Judaism study conducted by Guttman Institute and AVI Chai Foundation points to increase in number of religious and Haredi Jews, decrease in number of traditional and secular Jews.” (Ynet 28/1/12)

“Survey finds record number of Israeli Jews believe in God”

“First comprehensive study in a decade: More Israelis finding religion” (Ha’aretz 27/1/12)

taken by משתמש:Hmbr

The truth - but not the whole truth

Dramatic headlines – and frightening if true. But, as always, there are substantial differences between the message of the headline and the material in the body of the story. The articles refer to a survey carried out every 10 years or so, and purport to show a real change in the demographic structure of Israel with reference to religious belief.

However a closer examination of the details show a different picture. For example, in neither of the news reports is there any reference to statistical error. Given that the purpose of the survey was to show changes over a period of around 20 years, the claimed differences fall well within a sampling error range of 3% to 4 %, which is a regularly accepted deviation.

In answer to the question : “Do you believe in God?” the figures for believers are: 76% in 1991 and 80% in 2009. It is also interesting that this includes the answers of  those who “believe wholeheartedly”and “believe, but sometimes doubt”. How one is supposed to extrapolate a definite figure with such questions escapes me.

In answer to the question: “are Jews the Chosen People” the answers are statistically meaningless: 69% in 1991 and 70% in 2009.

The other side of the picture is that in 2009, 46% defined themselves as Secular, “down” from 52% in 1991.  Given the substantial increase in the numbers of Ultra-Orthodox Jews in the past 20 years, it is extraordinary that the change is so small.

The headlines could easily have read:

“Almost half of Israeli Jews are not religious”

The sub-heading could have quoted that the survey also showed that:

English: Rainbow flag flapping in the wind wit...

Tel Aviv - number 1 in the world for Gay Tourism

“between 58% – 68% of respondents stated that shopping centres, public transportation, sporting events, cafes, restaurants and cinemas should be allowed to operate on Shabbat. More than half ( 51%) were in favour of civil marriage.

There are various other contradictory elements mentioned, which, taken together, show that it is possible to place any interpretation one wants on the figures. I assume that, for reasons of sensationalism, and in the interests of selling more newspapers, or creating more media attention, the headlines quoted above were chosen.

I am not questioning the motives or techniques used by those who carried out the survey; I’m sure they were well intentioned and professional in their approach. But the road to Hell is often paved with good intentions. Unfortunately, no one can control how the media will manipulate the information.

Statistical surveys are all about interpretation. I can only hope that my understanding is closer to the truth, and that Israel is not descending into religious fundamentalism, in spite of the recent disturbing events involving some Haredi extremists.

Perhaps they were acting out of desperation, feeling that in reality, and despite their best efforts and political clout, they are not winning the battle for the hearts and minds of Israeli Jews.

Anti-Israeli Jews

Not the best example of "The Chosen people"


I fervently hope so, otherwise we can kiss goodbye to Herzl’s dream of  “a free people in their own land.”


Andyboy – Telling it as it is