Breaking the Sabbath

Police force Orthodox Rabbi to break the sabbath

This is what happens when the establishment clause overrides the free exercise clause and we cease to understand that religion is more than a personal choice.  In some cases it includes a set of "guidelines for living" that should not be arbitrarily violated.  Yes, to you and me asking someone to write down their name certainly doesn't seem like an onerous burden, but that is because many of us are not bound by the same orthopraxis as may guide an orthodox rabbi.  I am not outraged, only because I can understand how ignorance was in the ascendant here and not necessarily malice--the rule seems a subtlety, an arbitrary thing.  But, it is no less a binding rule for all of that, and in approaching people in a pluralistic culture, all people must be accorded the respect that we would accord the majority--respecting their way of life.

I've said all of this very poorly, and I'm not certain it properly encapsulates my thought--the bottom line is, understand the meaning of the request you make of an individual.  If you could see Hell before your very eyes and could see a soul plunged there because of what you asked them to do, you'd be less likely to do it.  The supernatural law that the Rabbi was rightly obeying must not be regarded as an token, an arbitrary thing lightly given or taken.


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