Friday, March 17, 2006

Religious Excuses

I know I haven't posted much in past recent while but I've been rather busy in the real world (TM) and well, y'know, priorities. Though, to be honest I still am busy, but taking a break now and again is a good idea.

Now to the issue at hand. Let me begin with an anecdote. I went to class on Purim Tuesday and the professor when he was taking attendance actually stopped during the roll call, looked at me and asked "Why are you here?"

"Why am I here?" I asked surprised. "Am I not allowed to be here?"

"No," he said, "but last night a different Orthodox Jew said that he couldn't come into class because of a holiday. Was he lying to me?"

"No, he wasn't lying. Today is a holiday. It's just that while the day has certain things that need to be done, the times when you do them can be rather flexible."

I didn't want to get into the details of the difference between a holiday like Purim compared to Yom Tovim. I didn't think he would understand and he probably didn't care.

Anyway, this got me thinking about other times when I know Jews have lied or stretched the truth about Jewish observance to get out of other responsibilities. It doesn't apply to the above instance since the person really may have had other responsibilities, I don't know, but I do know of instances where, for example, people had a test pushed off or skipped class because of chol hamoed Succos. They'll tell the professor that they have to be excused because of religious reasons, but they're just dishonestly using their religion.

This has a series of negative effects. One, it gets goyim very confused about Jewish observance and if they find out the truth then they won't trust Jews the next time they really can't come in for some Yom Tov. Second, it puts other Jews who weren't "in" on the conspiracy in a sore position as they may want to come to class but they don't want to rat on these other guys. And thirdly, it makes those Jews who do come into work on those days look less committed and goyim might expect them to come to work on other holidays too.

I, for one, hate getting special treatment because of my Judaism. I hate using my Judaism as an excuse for things. There was one time I had a test scheduled during a holiday. I didn't push off the test; I took it a day early! Those who use their Judaism to get out of their responsibilities simply cannot be holding proper respect for their religion. You are lowering your whole way of life to be used as an excuse why you can't do something. Being Jewish is great, but when a conflict arises it should generally be the one with the special way of life paying the bill, not those who are sticking to the regular schedule.


happywithhislot said...

where is the dishonesty, according to some you're not allowed to work on choL and purim

Orthoprax said...


These are people that hold that way selectively. When it suits them.

Jewboy said...

I must echo Happywithhislot. I wouldn't be so quick to criticize those who take off for Chol Hamoed, it's not all that simple. I, for on, am in school and I go on Chol Hamoed, but I don't begrudge those that don't.

Orthoprax said...


As I said before, it is easy to criticise when the people who do so are posers. They take off because of a test, not because of chol hamoed. Secondly, I have no problem with anyone taking off for any reason, just don't think you ought to get special treatment if you do.